Earlier this week Jay reflected some on the role of music in worship. He imagined how powerful our worship will feel when we again gather as a body of believers—not just in spirit, but in flesh. I share his excitement for what that day will be like.
But I also am also aware of the power of worship when we are in the midst of hardship and trials. Especially when worship may be the last thing on our minds.
The Scripture admonishes us to give praise and worship to God continually, throughout the day (Psalm 119:164), “all day” (Psalm 35:28), “while we live and have our being” (Psalm 146:1-2). Psalm 148 calls for the Lord to be praised everywhere. Psalm 150 calls for the Lord to be praised with everything! Does that sound like mere hyperbole to you?
We might wonder how we can live a life so preoccupied with worship when we have so many things to do and so many other things to worry about. We have bills to pay. We have an employer to please. We have doctor appointments. We have kids to manage. We have a leaky faucet to fix, a car to repair, a lawn to mow. We have decisions to make. We need more time in the day…. We have stress we need to reduce, anxiety medicine we need to take, a counselor we need to talk to. We don’t have any more of ourselves or our schedule to give to God! Am I right?
Yet perhaps that is precisely the point. The reason we need worship so much is because we don’t think our life has time for it. Worship has a way of bringing life down to size and putting it into perspective. It does so by reminding us that our life is not the sum of our worries or successes, our schedules or interruptions, or how good or bad our circumstance might be. In worship we remember that no matter what else is going on, we have life in God and can enjoy communion with Him any time and any place.
When you read the text from Acts 16, did you notice where the temple was where worship took place? A dark, dank, smelly prison cell! Kind of crazy, isn’t it? In the most undesirable of all places, Paul and Silas worshipped. “At midnight” they prayed and sang hymns of praise to God. We typically think of this account as being about the escape opportunity that Paul and Silas didn’t take advantage of. The earthquake shook the foundations of the prison, the cell doors were opened, and their chains were loosened. But they didn’t leave!
I have a theory that part of the reason escape didn’t seem to cross their minds was because the inconvenience of being in prison was not foremost on their minds!
Are you at place right now where life needs to be brought down to size? Rather than be overwhelmed by your circumstances, overwhelm your circumstances with worship. And the life-giving privilege of being able to glorify God will have a way reducing everything else to comparable insignificance.
Prayer: Lord, put a prayer ever upon my lips and a song ever in my heart, that worship will overwhelm my worry.