Periodically, there are moments in church on Sunday mornings, during praise and worship, that I stop singing, I lower my hands, I open my eyes, and I look. (Insert appalling gasp of disappointment). Sometimes I take in the view of people worshipping the Lord and there I find a blessing.
You may be inclined to think that those who are singing their hearts out, who have a little pep in their step and their arms extended so purposefully and demonstratively must be worshipping from a place of gratitude for everything going pretty well in their life. I don’t know everyone’s personal stories, but I know some. I know some who do seem to have life going pretty well. But I know that’s not why they worship. I know others who don’t have much at all going well in their lives, but that doesn’t stop them from giving worship.
It’s a beautiful scene, God’s children praising and worshipping regardless of their circumstance.
Three times this week, in this one week, three different people expressed how touching it was to them that I haven’t blamed God for the circumstances I’ve faced. “So many people do,” is what they said. So why? Why haven’t I blamed Him?
There’s a man I learned about who had more loss, all at one time, than my mind could ever even begin to process. Imagine with me, someone comes to you and says, “Your finances have been compromised and every penny to your name is gone.” And before that someone can proceed to explain the details surrounding the ordeal, another person comes to tell you your most valued and trusted employee has pulled the rug out from under you taking your good ideas and employees. Then before you can say, “What?!,” still yet, another person comes to tell you that your home has been destroyed by fire . It can’t get any worse. No, not until one last person comes to inform you that there was a terrible accident and all your children are dead.
It’s a little different in scripture, so I invite you to read Job 1:13-22 for the details. But we can all be inspired by Job’s response in verse 20, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped.”
Job didn’t blame God. He worshipped God. When it would have been quite understandable to lose it, to scream “why,” to give up on life, Job chose to worship.
So how, how can you and I do the same?
In the last year Brandon and I have faced some pretty unpleasant circumstances. We wade through the waters of one and before our feet dry, we start wading through the waters of another. So how do we keep our joy and our faith in those trials?
#1—think about those who are dealing with something more difficult. Look around during praise and worship and see the woman who lost her child from an act of violence or your friend who is battling cancer, both praising the Lord without reserve. There’s some faith boosting right there.
#2—remember that God has never, ever left you and He never ever will. No matter how alone you feel; you aren’t. He is right there holding you in life’s darkest moments.
#3—realize that the worse the situation the greater potential for His creative plan. Wait for it. Believe it. And watch. God has been so faithful in our past. When I haven’t been able to figure out how anything will work out, He has orchestrated something amazing. I’m so grateful I read His Word as a teenager and believed it, because it gave me faith to believe for His hand at work in my life personally. Wait. Believe. Watch.
#4—know our circumstances (or their outcomes) don’t reflect His goodness. He is good ALL THE TIME, regardless of circumstance. How can I even say that when there’s such sadness in this world? Because this world isn’t all there is, but He is with us no matter what we face in this world. If this life were perfect, what would we look forward to in eternity? There is more. So much more. And God is good in every trial we face.
#5—look at suffering differently. One of my favorite passages is Romans 5:3-5 NIV “…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” I realize this doesn’t make any of us want to sign-up for suffering, but it does give us understanding of the good things God can bring out of something so bad.
I pray if you are going through some difficult times now, or maybe in a time to come, you can say, “God is faithful, all the time; He is with me; He has a plan and He will bring something good out of this difficult moment.”
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