"I felt myself slowly rising from the floor. I knew that I had no choice but to trust my Lord. Even in the most painful, crushing times, He is still worthy to be praised. Praising Him still strengthens us. And praising Him is still a signal to the enemy of our souls that he cannot, will not triumph, even when it might look like he has."
That quote is from Jeremy Camp's book "I Still Believe." (Highly recommend this book!) I started reading it today and couldn't put it down. I will admit, I cried through the first nine chapters. I didn't cry just because of the tragic circumstances that Jeremy went through, but because of the evidence of God's hand at work through it all. Because of the amazing example of worshiping our Lord through the darkest, most painful, and heart rending times.
The idea of worshiping and praising our Lord even when things are hard is not a popular notion. The very thought ushers forth a feeling of rebellion, at least for me. I have to admit, I am just now starting to grow in this idea of worshiping all the time, no matter what.
When things are hard I sometimes feel like it's all I can do to ask God to get me out of the circumstances as fast as He can. The very idea of lifting my hands during that time and saying, "You are good, no matter what!" is sometimes distasteful. I too often equate His goodness with how good my circumstances are at the time.
A good example of proper worship is found in the Psalms. We see David again and again crying out to the Lord asking why and begging for deliverance but always at the end he proclaims God's faithfulness and goodness.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?...
Yet you are holy,...
(I always wanted to believe that David wrote the "yet You are holy" part after his circumstances got better.)
Through my incorrect view of worship I continued to miss out on the gift God gives in this act of faith and obedience. His gift is peace, increased faith, and a firm belief that what we are actually saying is very true.
This concept has begun to grow in my heart and take form. Sometimes it's out of sheer obedience that I worship, at times reading words from the Psalms when I cannot find my own. When circumstances are wearing me thin, discouragements are weighing me down, I see more clearly that the strength and ability to even whisper halting prayers comes from the Lord alone. In those weary times, I find my greatest freedom and strength is found again when I get on my knees, lift my hands and say "Lord, I don't get it right now and I'm having trouble seeing all of the good in this but I believe You are good, and Your plans for me are good."
We are never to fear that somehow God's goodness isn't true, and so the act of worship is not due Him, in the worst of times. That every detail isn't acted out in perfect love and in His good and perfect plan for us.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
I rejoice because we can praise Him with absolute confidence that He is good, is holy, His will for us always works together for good, and He is absolutely worthy to be praised!
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