Thursday, February 16, 2012

Power in Praise by Merlin R. Carothers

Carothers, Merlin R. Power in Praise. Escondido, CA: Merlin R. Carothers, 1972.

I bought a copy of Power in Praise by Merlin R. Carothers at a library book sale. It sat on my shelf for months. I have more appetite for books than time. I was surprised to find it listed in bibliography of Melody Beattie’s last self-help book, Make Miracles in Forty Days. Because reviewing books is inherently about comparing and contrasting books, I made reading Power in Praise a priority.

At a very basic level, Beattie and Carothers have a similar message. Be grateful for everything. Carothers would say praise God in everything.

Our thanks and praise, especially for those things we for which we don’t necessarily feel grateful, brings about in us a peace, contentment, and new perspective on our situation. It often leads to a change in our circumstances, too.

The two authors differ on their view of how this works. For Beattie, it is a universal law. It works because that is the nature of the universe. You can blend it with whatever religion you like or none. Expressing thanks for the hard things will change your life regardless of your religion.

Carothers, in contrast, sees God as the author of our lives. He is in control of all. The hardships, pain, setbacks, and everything else in our life is under His control.

We can praise God even in the worst situations because we trust Him. God loves us and had a good plan for our life. If He permits difficulties, it is because it will produce good. First is the good of coming to God and acknowledging Jesus Christ as our savior. After that comes the producing of a godly character and preparation for work that shows God’s power, love and grace.

Power in Praise is, in part, a book of stories about people who have put Carothers’ principle to the test. Some of these come from the Bible, especially from Paul, who suffered all manner of calamities, but remained contented, peaceful, and even joyful, because He trusted God in all things. Many of the cases come form his experience as an Army chaplain.

As you might expect, people were reluctant to praise God for disease, accidents, failures and other troubles. Some were willing to try even if they didn’t feel it; Carothers writes that it is a matter of faith and not feeling or understanding. Those that tried discovered a transformation in themselves. For Carothers, this is the main thing. To know God and be closer to Him, trusting Him more, is the best thing. In many cases, these people saw quick changes in their circumstances, too.

Carothers also deals with the flipside of praise and thanksgiving with a chapter on grumbling and complaining. He says that to complain is to make accusations against God. It is an expression of distrust. Arguably, mankind’s fall into sin came from distrusting God and it has caused us a lot of trouble sense. The better stand, the position of power, is to trust God in everything, believing that He has a good plan even when bad things happen.

If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in
365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
Gratitude by Melody Beattie
Into the Depths of God by Calvin Miller
Make Miracles in Forty Days by Melody Beattie
Thanks! by Robert A. Emmons