The Worship Quote of the Week for (01/15/2008):

Worship in Times of Trouble
Do you always approach Christian worship with eagerness? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE from author-pastor David Jeremiah deals with a harsh reality: In times of hardship, our worship of God may not come easily. Jeremiah sends the reader to the psalms for a tutorial in “worship in the hard times.”

Life comes crashing down.

It happens for every one of us—not always with planes or automobiles or loss of family members or failed marriages. Somehow, all the same, life comes crashing down. The loss of one’s own child may well be the most excruciating blow a loving parent can endure, but you can be sure that every other tragedy life dispenses offers its own unique form of suffering.

You’re never prepared. That’s the essence of the pain. Possibly for the first time in your life, you wonder whether there’s any purpose in going on. For the first time, you wonder whether the gift of life on this earth—for YOU—is really a gift. For the first time, you seem to lack the strength even to rise from bed and perform the little rituals and have the little conversations that give daily life its color and rhythm. With a heart smashed in ten thousand pieces, you have no clue where to turn.

How wonderful, then, is the moment when you discover you can run into the arms of a Father who loves you and weeps with you. What an incredible moment when you fully comprehend that healing is possible. In Psalm 138:7, David wrote, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me.”

He is ever faithful; He is ever present and attentive. One of the things we discover in the psalms is that we not only have a Lord God and a Savior when we face tragedy—even incomparable pain like the loss of a young, beloved child—but we have a wonderful Friend in the bargain.

Again and again, the psalms return to this beautiful, melodious theme. They burst out in song—for what other form than music could this book have ever taken?—over the amazing news that the high and holy God of creation is our Friend. They remind us that He knows every need we feel, every craving we experience. They assure us He is not a God who dwells in some distant, unapproachable realm, who paid a short call on this planet centuries ago—but that He is an always present Father, who is totally immersed in the smallest details of our lives.

And when we come to Him in the midst of trouble, He hears us; He knows us. He loves us as we love our own children [and even more perfectly than that].

In Psalm 138, we find the song of “a man after God’s own heart” who had traveled a long journey down the road of spiritual wisdom. He understood many deep truths about his relationship with God—one of which is brought home with clarity and passion here. David came to see that in times of trouble, the most clearly marked path to God is not the way of struggle and desperation. It is, instead, the path of worship. Psalm 138 speaks to us about worship in times of trouble. [He goes on to show from the psalm how we are to worship the Lord thankfully, whole-heartedly, intelligently, and courageously.]

—David Jeremiah, A BEND IN THE ROAD: EXPERIENCING GOD WHEN YOUR WORLD CAVES IN. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000, pp. 107-08. ISBN-13 978-0-8499-4333-1

Have a great week!

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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