That verse is underlined in my Bible. I love it for a few reasons.
This past year or so has been the hardest of my adult life. It seems like there was opposition as I turned every corner. Yet, last October I received a word that God was choosing THIS year (this past year) to be the year when He poured Himself into me. That particular word went on to command, in no uncertain terms, that I was to praise.
Notice how the Lord didn't say it was going to be the best, or most prosperous, year of my life. He said He chose this year to pour into me, and told me to praise.
Even though this has been the worst year ever, I've never been happier. And I think it's because through every trial, I have done as instructed. I have praised. The verse above talks about refining fires--fires that determine the quality of a metal and purge it of impurities.
Our praise is both a demonstrative for the quality of a person and the mechanism by which we become people of quality. When I was telling a dear friend about a problem I was facing, she said, "Wow, and you're still up there praising." And I said, "What else is there to do?" How convenient would it be to fall to pieces? To back out of my oath to God when the pain begins? But what reward is there in that? I would much rather stand within the flames with His name on my lips than to slink defeated into the shadows.
The title of this post comes from the traditional Mexican song "Cielito Lindo." Canta y no llores, porque cantando se alegran, Cielito Lindo, los corazones. "Sing and don't cry. Because singing gladdens the heart." The rest of the song makes no sense at all to me, but I've always loved that refrain. Canta y no llores. It looks like Proverbs agrees.
P.S. (a very nerdy and overly-thorough post script) I'm always careful with quoting the Bible in a public forum like this. I try to make sure I read enough translations of the verse I'm going to quote so as to make sure that I'm getting a complete picture. According to several of the more modern English translations, and ALL the Spanish ones I could find, the verse above does not refer to a man's act of praise, but rather what determines the quality of a man is the praise he receives from others, or his reputation. I certainly think that's true in a sense, but there is little spiritual gain for me in that. The Amplified bears out my interpretation, though I suppose I could do some cross-referencing to further support it. Oh my.