Hallway Praise

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Until God opens the door, praise Him in the hallway. – Nicky Gumbel from Bible in One Year

I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. – Caleb from Joshua 14:8b

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. – David from Psalm 40:1

I’m not so sure that I’m very good at praising God in the hallway. The hallway is that waiting place. It’s a student waiting for a reprimand from a teacher. It’s parents waiting for a meeting. It’s me wondering what is up next. It’s that in between space. It’s not quite a room, but it is a destination.

My hallways are often filled with stuff. It’s the paper that has to get to the office, but it didn’t quite make it. It’s rows of shoes, boots, jackets, and backpacks at school. These are all things in transition, waiting for what is next. Paper to be recorded, filed, shredded. Shoes to be filled for the freedom of recess. The joy is in arriving at the destination not in the lingering in the hallway.

But my hallways are sometimes filled with emotional baggage too. It’s the admiring glances of another life that sometimes become the envious wishes of a jealous heart. It’s dissatisfaction that leads to a grumbling instead of joy. Other times it is pure joy and thrills and things to look forward too. But too often, it’s not joy but a spirit of the disgruntled that meets me in the hallway. It’s not praise.

So if I am going to be like Caleb and follow God wholeheartedly, I need to reclaim my hallways. Rather I need God to reclaim my hallways.

Instead of times of waiting that leads to despair, these hallways need to be times of waiting with my eyes fixed heavenward. Instead of waiting and thinking that God doesn’t really know what He is up to, I need to reminded that God does hear the cries of my heart and probably knows those cries even better than I do.

I forget this lesson often. In fact, I feel like I write about this more than anything else. God does know me. He knows my heart, the longings of it. He knows my disappointments and the things that have left deep dents and long lasting scars. He knows the joys that have left me elated. He continues to call me to a life that is fixed on Him. He still calls. He doesn’t stop calling. Rather He continues regardless of what I think He is doing.

And He relishes the praises of my heart. He’s longing for me to praise Him. For me to pour back to Him the joy that only He can provide. Not for any other reason than the praising of Him does me a world of good. I know it brings joy to His heart. It edifies His name. However, there is so much that praising Him does for me. It reminds me of His character. It reminds me of His awesomeness. It reminds me of my smallness. It reminds me of His provision. It reminds me that I am not alone. It instills in me the correct perspective that I lose all too often.

So I’m in the business of hallway reclamation. I hope it becomes the place of beauty in the midst of waiting. I hope it is a place of deep joy. I hope it becomes this place of deep and abiding praise because somewhere the door will open and He will lead me in. Who knows what the destination will be!

Matt Redman’s Songs in the Night

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