The last few months at our house have been—how shall I put it?—an adventure. We haven’t been hit by a semi-truck of suffering, just by a series of rogue go-carts, I guess, one of them right after the other. Some seasons are like that, and when you’re in one, you can find yourself grumbling and grousing about every little thing before you realize exactly what’s happened.
And so last night, when I read A World of Praise to the girls, I was struck by how much my soul needed this book’s lifting and expanding. A World of Praise tours the globe, praising the Lord for things big and small, reminding readers of the wonders on other continents as well as in our own back yards. The words are gorgeous, and the illustrations harmonize with them beautifully; they are richly detailed in a way that invites readers to linger, ponder, and pray.
Oh, the wonder of a new morning!
Oh, the warmth of the prairie breeze!
Oh, the sway of the ripening wheat!
Oh, the fullness of our daily bread!
Thank you for all that you provide
to fill our daily needs.
The rhythm of this poem and the little windows of the paintings drew us out of our home (“Oh, the wonder of Urgent Care! Oh, the warmth of yet another fevered forehead!”) and set our sights higher: on the “God of far and wide, high and low, great and small.” The God who is with us as we disinfect the sink again, hold still for an ankle x-ray, and collect our last cat’s ashes from the “Pet After-Care Facility.” He is the God who blesses us even in seasons of stray go-carts.
This book makes the world bigger in two ways: by recalling for us how big God is, that he reaches every square inch of this world (and beyond!), and by reminding us how big the world is. Which has the double effect of reminding us how small we are and how safe we are in his hands.
So, this book is a soul-stirring delight—one that is a joy to sit and examine with small readers and a balm to read aloud before bedtime. In the last pages of A World of Praise, the author includes passages from the psalms she used as a foundation for the poem, so at its close the book strikes this beautiful note:
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,Psalm 113:3
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
Which is to say, in light and darkness, praise his name. In the dead of winter also.
A World of Praise
Deborah Lock; Helen Cann (2022)