Did you know that your best, greatest, richest, sweetest worship can come from a place of deep, deep pain? It is true. Praise and Worship are two very different offerings to our Heavenly Creator. They are also two of the easiest to confuse in contextual relationship with HIM.
Praise is a conveyance of joy and appreciation for what Jesus HAS done. Worship is an expression of reverence for who HE is to us.
For instance, HE woke me up to breathe and enjoy yet another day and I give HIM all the praise for this gift. HE has surrounded me with the most loving people who support me, watch over me, and speak into my circumstance with Godly phraseology. I praise HIM throughout the day for these gifts.
Praise is easy. It’s a vocal and physical expression of thanksgiving. It’s about pleasing Him for all HE does, all HE has done, and all HE will do in the future. Praise is about “experienced” faith. We believed, HE provided, we offer up praise.
Ah, and then there is worship. Y’all know who Job is in the Bible. He is a man who suffered beyond all human comprehension. He lost everything. Not just a job, or a home, or a family. There was no “or” in what he lost. It was “and”, “and”, “and” until nothing was left. He was destitute and utterly alone. I cannot even comprehend the magnitude of his loss.
In Job 1:20 ~ “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.” From this place of a broken heart, a gaping wound in his very core, he knew that worship was key.
Hannah had sought the Lord for many years because she wanted to carry a child in her barren womb. She was taunted because she could not give her husband a child. In those days, it was very important to have many children, tend the home, and care for the family. She had no family to care for and could not aid her husband in extending the lineage through her. She grieved from a place of hurt, a wound so great she was unable to actually speak aloud the words of her petition to God. Eli actually thought she was given to drunkenness because of her actions in the temple. She had not been given to wine, she was in great distress. Her soul wreathed in pain of failure, lacking the joy of giving birth and raising a child of her own.
Yet, God met her in that place of crushing torture because she still came to the temple to pray. She even made a vow to God from this valley. She still believed that worship and petition was key. God heard her cries and rewarded her by opening her womb. She bore a child and because she worshipped God for who HE was in the deep, dark places, she returned with praise and fulfilled her vow by giving her precious child into HIS hands.
“And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” I Samuel 1:10,11. Hannah was filled bitter anguish, yet continued to believe that God would hear her pain and answer her heart’s desire.
David said it well. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4. When times in your life are beyond rough, when turmoil besets your soul, and your heart is enveloped in pain, that is when you are most vulnerable and God can meet you right there. HE will prove HIMself faithful. HE will love on you, strengthen you, and if need be, HE will carry you until you are strong enough to walk tall and strong and whole again.
Maybe the doctor has told you that mass is malignant. Maybe you were “pinked” on your job and you’re a single mom and now unemployed. Maybe it’s CHRISTmas and there is no hope for gifts for your babies to open. Maybe your pantry is empty and your baby is hungry. Maybe your car has been totaled and there is no bus service in your area. Maybe your heat has been turned off and you have no money to warm yourself or your family. And maybe, it’s just a straw that has landed on all the other bundles of straw you’re trying to balance, and it is the one little thing that breaks you.
Whatever is breaking your heart right now, it is not the entire story of your life. As a Grown Acts Woman of God, get your heart tuned in to who HE is to you every moment of every day. HE gave us life. HE gave us a heart to love. HE provides all of the needs we have and when our ways please HIM, HE gives us the desires of our hearts. HE gives HIS angels charge over us to keep us even in the midst of the storm.
So whether the final straw is cancer, dementia, or a sore throat, God is faithful. Your worship during this time is precious and appeals to our Father’s heart.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” II Corinthians 1:3,4.
Sometimes the very thing that wounds us is the very thing that teaches us empathy so we may help others in their painful journey. Giving God the glory HE deserves and letting others know of our experiences in those hurting times can be the reason we are where we are on this journey. Understand that even in the valley, the rod (God protecting and defending you) and the staff (God securing and saving you) are with you. This is the comfort we have when low in spirit and wounded. HE has never walked away. HE is always with us and for that alone HE deserves our worship. Remember, worship is recognizing who and what HE is to you at all times, but especially in the storms and vicissitudes of life.
Lean into HIS embrace. Let HIM comfort and strengthen you. Let HIM be your source. Grieve. Speak to HIM about the hurt. Let HIM pour in the balm of Giliad and with HIS tender mercy, bind your wound. Worship HIM until your praise is heart-felt again. Be healed, in Jesus name.