You know what I suck at? Worshipping God when things aren’t going my way. I’ll come to Him. Cry out to Him. Tell Him my troubles. But worship seems to only come naturally to me when things are going my way. I think I get thanksgiving and worship confused sometimes. I think that I can only worship when things are going well in life—when I “feel” thankful. Albeit, worship, and thanksgiving are often overlapping, but they are not necessarily the same.
I had a revelation tonight. I was listening to the Christian remake of the song “Hallelujah” called “A Hallelujah Christmas” by the band Cloverton. The lyrics to the last verse are: “My sins would drive the nails in you, that rugged cross was my cross too, still every breath you drew was Hallelujah.”
Jesus never stopped worshipping the Father. His whole life was worship. Even when He was suffering on the cross, bearing the weight of the punishment for every sin ever committed, he never ceased worshipping.
Can I say the same? Do I worship God when I am hurting? When I’m struggling? When life flat out sucks? Or do I save my worship for only when I am thankful? Too often I tie worship so tightly to praising Him for my blessings, that when things are going bad, and the blessings I have seem meaningless, I neglect to worship. But our worship of God should not be based on the blessings he has given us, but rather on the fact that He is God and we are not. Perhaps this is why it is so difficult for a rich man to enter heaven. The poor in circumstance do not worship God because of what they have been given. Instead, having nothing, they worship God simply because He deserves to be worshipped. It is not dependent on their circumstances.
God deserves my worship ALL the time because He is God. He is the Creator of all things. He spoke the universe into existence. He is before time. There is none like Him. He is Holy. He is God. I am not. That alone is why I should worship Him. I am thankful that God is loving and merciful. I am thankful for the ultimate blessing of His son Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the countless other blessings in my life. However, even if these things were not attributes of God (we would be in big trouble) the fact that God is God and He created all things would be reason enough to worship Him. We are told that when Jesus comes back, every knee will bow in worship. It won’t be because everyone will experience God’s love, mercy, and grace (for many will not), but they will still worship Him because He is God and therefore is worthy of our worship.
The fact is, I should be able to say both “Life really sucks right now” AND “Hallelujah. Praise be to the Lord”. Too often the latter is dependent on the former. My pride stands in the way of the righteous response to suffering that Job displayed in saying, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Job knew that everything belonged to the Lord, and He had the right to do with His creation as He pleased. He knew that it wasn’t right to accept blessings from the Lord, but then not accept suffering. He knew that God brought both good weather and storms, both peace and calamity. It all came from the Lord. Job knew that God was God, and he was not. And he knew that God was sovereign and he was not. He never lost sight of this. He never removed God from a position that elicited his worship, regardless of the circumstances he was in. That is why, even though he cried out in anguish to God, the Bible says he did not sin. He didn’t sin because he kept God in His rightful place as God.
Intellectually, I already knew this. Yes, God is worthy of my worship all the time. I don’t have enough fingers to count the clichés I could insert to express this sentiment. But I’m not just talking about “knowing” this to be true. I’m talking about really believing it. I’m talking about living it out. I’m talking about being so humbled by who God is, that in the midst of my most difficult seasons, my response is still to worship.
There is something divine that occurs when knowledge about God moves from our head into our hearts—when the Holy Spirit takes what we “know” about God and writes it on our hearts, and we are forever changed.
That’s what happened to me tonight. It finally made sense. I’m in a hard season in my life. I have a lot of pain I am trying to bear. But God is still worthy of my worship. May my prayers not be so consumed with questioning what God is doing, seeking answers, and pleading with Him to remove the thorn in my side, that I neglect to Worship Him as God. May I be humbled enough that “because I am God and you are not” be a sufficient answer from Him. And may my worship be filled with thanksgiving for the fact that our God is not only sovereign, but He is also good; that we have Jesus and His Word to prove it. And because of Jesus, we get to not just worship God the creator, but we get to worship God the Father as His sons and daughters, knowing that He is working out all things in the end for our good.
I have a calling on my life, but I cannot enter into this calling without learning to keep God in His proper position: one that demands my worship, rain or shine. So, Father, I will praise you in this storm.
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”…
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will, they existed and were created.”