Soulful Praise

by Pastor Michael Fernandez

“The soul is the whole person. It connects all the other dimensions or parts (the heart, mind, body, and social dimension) together.” In his book “Renovation of the Heart,” this is how Dallas Willard defines our soul.

Therefore, “Soulful Praise” means we praise God for what’s happening in our Soul, and in every area of our life. Through every weakness and strength, for what’s happening in our heart, in our mind, in our body and in our social life or lack of.

In 1980 I married my first wife and two years later, on our anniversary, she asked for a divorce. This was before any of us knew anything about children of alcoholics. To her love meant daddy coming home yelling and screaming at both her and her brother and having to retreat to her room to hide. This was the case even though her dad had been sober for years before I even met him. For me, love meant my dad adoring my mom and loving her more and more each day. They were married for 59 ½ years up until my dad passed away. Marriage to me meant for a lifetime, and obviously for her it meant something different.

I found myself, the only sibling out of ten who still attended church, getting the first divorce in our family! I could not believe it! I was the one my nine brothers and sisters would call and ask me to pray for them all the time. This was in August., and it was the week before Christmas before I could bring myself to tell my parents. I was devastated. I was too prideful. The next May our divorce was final. For the first time in my life I forgot how to love myself. I liked to jog around Green Lake in Seattle. If on one of those jogs I saw a young couple walking around the lake holding hands, the pain of my divorce would come back to me. The thought would come to me - would I ever be loved again? I felt like my life was a failure.

Even after becoming a Christian in March of 1985, I would experience those same feelings whenever I saw a loving couple holding hands and laughing and enjoying each other. Then one night I went on a walk during my prayer time. During that time a thought came into my mind. Praise God for your divorce! What, I thought. Praise God for my divorce! Praising God would mean I would be thankful for my divorce. Then It dawned on me, that because of my divorce I went back to church and I found a relationship with Jesus. WOW!

I looked down at the ground and I prayed Thank you Lord for my divorce. Because of it I found you!!! Praise God! As I was looking down, I felt all that pain come back once more, but then as I looked up into the heavens, the cloudy sky parted as if the heavens opened to me and the moon was bright and beautiful. I began to smile and all the pain from my divorce left me and I was filled with joy -- that pain has never come back.

“No, I don’t need your sacrifices of flesh and blood. 14-15 What I want from you is your true thanks; I want your promises fulfilled. I want you to trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you and you can give me glory.” PSALM 50:13-15, TLB

Pastor Michael Fernandez

Note: Join us in worship this weekend. Pastor Michael will be sharing with us about “Soulful Praise” this weekend, Saturday at 5:30 pm and Sunday at 10:30 am. If you are traveling, you can catch the service on Facebook Live at 10:30 am (just go to the Washington Cathedral Facebook Page.)