When you approach worship, do you see it as an option depending on how you feel or as a necessity in your relationship with God?
We may all say worship is important, but what if you’ve had a bad week or are tired?
Have you ever found yourself grumbling and dreading having to stand and sing together? Struggling to lift your hands or clap because you just don’t feel like it? To even gather with other believers when it seems that life just stinks and you would rather be alone?
To often we (including me) allow our actions to be determined by our feelings instead of letting our feelings be shaped by our actions and engagement.
This truth is biblically demonstrated in the life of David. He had some tough times in his life, and wrote many psalms expressing doubt, uncertainty, and heartache. Those same psalms, though, also show him responding in worship.
Psalms like Psalm 6, 13, 22, 35, 37, and 38.
This has also been studied in modern research. I ran across this in my blog reading:
“Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact, we often feel because of the way we act. More than a century ago, philosopher and psychologist William James described this phenomenon: “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” By acting as if you feel a certain way, you induce that emotion in yourself.” (from The Happines Project by Gretchen Rubin quoted on the blog Quiet: The Power of Introverts)
Obviously, this has a broad level of application, but our focus is worship. Just as the truth of God and His character never changes, neither should our response of worship. God doesn’t stop being God, even on bad days, and we shouldn’t stop being worshipers.
That doesn’t mean part of our worship can’t be an honest expression of our hurting hearts, our laments, our struggles, and our doubts. Just like David did.
But along with those expressions should be expressions of truth about the unchanging reality of God. Just like David did.
Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns! (Rev. 19:6)
Even if we don’t feel like it.
Just like David did.
I understand that this is hard. In these days of waiting for us, sometimes I spend more time focused on the unanswered questions and challenges before us than I do on the unchanging character and promises of God. I try to solve the problems instead of letting God do so. Instead of remembering who He is and His faithfulness as my Father.
We can’t let worship be considered an option as a Christian. We need to be careful to not let the challenges of life prevent us from worshiping or make us forget who God is.
Even Job, in the pit of despair and confusion about his life, remembered and declared truth about God.
Blessed be Your name, in the land that is plentiful,
Where your streams of abundance flow,
Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name,
When I’m found in the desert place.
Though I walk through the wilderness,
Blessed be Your name.
Do you find it hard to worship when life is challenging?
How has worship helped you in a difficult time?