“Oh that men will praise the Lord, for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! He has broken the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in asunder.” – Ps 107:15-16.
I found myself singing a song based on this verse a few days ago and I paused to ponder on the verse. Brass and iron are hard metals, that's why you can make gates and bars with them including prison gates, shackles and bars. The verse revealed to me the infinite and mighty power of God to deal with hard and knotty issues in our lives, and the complex situations we are often faced with. Difficult times in our lives can drive us to self pity, despair and sometimes depression. Many people who have experienced knotty and complex situations can testify of the feeling of heaviness and a sense of hopelessness that can accompany despair; which in itself holds the individual bound as with a heavy shackle or yoke.
This verse tells me that God has the power to break the yoke of self-pity and to deliver from despair and depression. When we worship and praise God, and give Him a sacrifice of thanksgiving--burdens are lifted, yokes are broken and the restraining bars of iron are cut asunder. Let me share my experience in this regard.
About a year ago, my doctors suggested to me the option of having a surgical procedure which they deemed the only medical option left to address the respiratory difficulties I suffer from. This is a risky and delicate procedure. It required that I had a medical workup to ensure that I qualify for the procedure, and also that I do not have any underlying condition that could pose additional risk to me both during and after the surgical procedure. During the workup, I had to meet with all the specialists who are likely to be involved in the procedure. Afterwards, I got a preliminary clearance for the procedure. One of the surgeons thereafter became very concerned about my medical history which he deemed complex and he felt that this will not only pose additional risk to the surgery but it is a sufficient reason not to do it at all. He wanted to review the case again more thoroughly before agreeing to the procedure. He was so brusque in presenting the facts that his words fell like a heavy load of bricks on me. I felt suffocated listening to him. I tried hard to shake it off.
When we left his office to wait to see the other specialists, my husband kept encouraging me and speaking the word of God to me. It was not the first time that we had left a doctor’s office and we had to confess that we know whose report we would believe. We believe in the report of the Lord and His report says “I am healed.” Though all the other specialists we saw were optimistic about the procedure but the report of the older surgeon weighed heavily on my spirit.
When we got home, I went straight to my room and wailed before God. I was very angry with the surgeon and I resented the offhanded way he addressed the issue. While I agreed he had the responsibility to present all the facts but I felt he could have done it without making the situation look so hopeless. I felt overwhelmed by the heaviness in my spirit. All I could do was wail from the depth of my heart. I knew I had to deal with the anger immediately otherwise not only would the seed of offense take root in my heart; also the feeling of despair will overwhelm me. I slept off out of sheer exhaustion.
The following morning, I told my husband I was not coming out of the room until I can open my mouth and give praise to God. I asked him to set up the iPod to play some praise and worship songs to help lift my spirit up. After listening to the songs for a while, I found myself meditating on the lyrics and soon I started to sing along, first quietly and then loudly. Don Moen’s song “I will sing” particularly ministered to me. The more I sang--“I will sing, I will praise even in my darkest times … Lift my hands to honour You because Your word is true, I will sing”--the more the tears flowed. The flood gate just busted open and I started to weep. This time it was not a wail of despair but tears flowing from an overwhelming assurance of God’s love for me and a confident hope that He would not allow me to be tried more that I can bear. The more I sang praise, the lighter my spirit became and the power of that praise kept me from the brink of self pity and despair.
Whether you are at the brink of despair or deep down in the pit of depression, this one assurance I can give you, God loves you and He has the power to break the gates of brass and the bars of iron in your life. As you lift His name high in praise, you will be lifted out of that pit and be set free from the yoke of self pity, despair and depression. Praise breaks the yoke of self pity, despair and depression. Entertaining self pity and despair is destructive. It wastes your energy and drains you emotionally. An attitude of praise will keep you in check. That was what it did for me.
What about you? What has the power of praise broken in your life?
"I will sing" by Don Moen.