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  • Rev Peter Chan (BPCEC)

As Long As I Live

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

2 I will praise the Lord all my life;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live

Psalm 146:1–2

The last five Psalms, i.e., 145–150, focus on praise. All of them begin and end with “praise the LORD”.

These are not hollow words; they are expressed by someone who knows the Lord from youth, journeyed through life with hardships, heartaches, losses, pains, disillusions, and disappointments. These Psalms are attributed to David’s authorship. If the Psalms that he wrote over the years developed like his life, then we should find maturity in the latter Psalms. So these are songs that David is not only summoning himself but others and all of creation to praise the LORD, as long as they have breath, life!

Throughout my pastoral ministry, I ministered to people of different ages, status, and stations in life. One group of people is instructional and inspirational to me, the seniors or elderly. This is true especially when they are joyful and thankful from their hearts. Phrases like “praise God”, “thank God”, etc. spring from their hearts through their lips all the time!

Whenever I visit such elderly believers, they never cease to instruct and inspire me. They are even more impactful when I consider the stories of their lives – what they had gone through. Two ordinary women with extraordinary praise in particular are in my mind right now as I penned this devotional.

First, Mrs. Steadfast (not her real name). She was affectionately known to her grandchildren as a godly woman, always in prayer for them and others. She was a widow. I first met her as a very young man at a church camp and was in same discussion group with her. During those discussions, I heard her testimony. She appeared joyful and grateful to me. She was also very encouraging to me, a younger man. Then, as I listened to her sharing her life, I was touched. Though she had tried to raise her children in the faith, nonetheless, her two sons deviated from the faith and stumbled into crime. They masterminded and involved in

a crime that warranted capital penalty. They were arrested, convicted, and were

subsequently sent to the gallows.

I would expect someone like her who had gone through such great pains and sorrows would be bitter and angry with God! And I expected her to be wallowing in self-pity and distanced from everyone. But she did not; instead, she took courage and rose from her pain and sorrow to be strong for her orphaned grandchildren. The wives of the two brothers left their marriages and families; perhaps, they found the event too overwhelming or maybe, wanted to distance from association with the shame! That is not our concern. Point is that this grandmother rose to the challenge and continue to provide spiritual support for the entire clan.

So, when I met her in old age, she was still full of joy in the Lord and praise for God. What a remarkable woman!

Another woman, Mrs. Faith (not her real name), was well into her late 80s. She was already suffering from worsening arthritis on her fingers. Then dementia began to set in slowly as well. I visited her quite a few times, chatting, praying and conducting holy communion for her at her home. Her daughter-in-law told me that Faith would wake up in the morning to be at the piano playing for an hour. She would play and sing along, praising God! Even when her fingers were aching,

she would persist with the godly habit of praising God with her music and voice! I also learned that she was a church organist and pianist for many years during her younger days.

She was always full of joy and praise for God whenever I visited her. When she could not play the piano anymore, she would just sing. So when I was with her, I would ask her what hymn she would like to sing with me. She surprised me with her long-term deep memory by being able to sing from memory her favourite hymns. This feat was not something of talent but of ritual habits of committing to memory the hymns of praise for God!

When I grow older, I want to be like these two remarkable godly women – full of prayer and praises! As long as live, I will praise the Lord! As long as I have breath, I want to sing to the Lord who is my God and my Saviour!

What about you?

Dear God, thank You for the example of David and many other godly men and women. They continue to praise You, even in old age, as long as they had breath! I want to be like them. Give me the joy and the gratitude that springs from my heart through my lips, praising and thanking You always, day after day, as long as I have breath! In Jesus’ Name.


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