We were created to worship, and God created us to worship Him. When man fell into sin in the Garden, man began to worship other things. There are multiple accounts throughout the Bible of things that man created to worship and man started worshiping God’s creation rather than the One who created it.
Worship is part of us. Some of us worship success. Strive for the next thing in our career, which isn’t bad, but when it is before God and our family it can become an idol, or worshiping something else like sports teams, our spouses, our self, our friend…the list goes on and on.
As Christians, we strive to worship God. Not His creation, but instead stand in awe of His creation. We strive to worship God by working hard at the job and tasks that He has given us to do, but many times we will get distracted by the next thing, and always wanting more.
When we are in pain, when we have experienced loss and when we have been sinned against, we do not want to worship God, rather, we want to worship what is around us, being envious of a friend who has all of her children, being envious of the guy who got the promotion we wanted, or, dare I say, even worshiping our pain. Pain does not feel good, but it can be a place where we can build a nice tight cocoon where no one can enter and where we may be angry, bitter and resentful. We are also at home there, no one and nothing else can hurt us if we are more focused on our self then on anybody else.
After my husband’s mom passed away from cancer, we had our daughter, Tullie, a month later and she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and then we had our son, Eli, 10 months later. Our family had had a very tough year. Grueling. I would stand in church and I was worshiping my pain, because each song that would come up to be sung would be something about how magnificent our Lord was or how good He was, and with each word I would get more and more resentful. I was angry. I was broken. I was not filled with hope, nor with joy. I also did not understand the Gospel.
A couple of years after Eli passed away, I started to study. I started to dig. I started to read about what Jesus did for me. I had known it as a kid. I had believed it. I had been a Christian since I was 6 years old, but I had yet to understand the Gospel.
Jesus started to use my brokenness, my pain and my suffering to understand the Gospel. I learned the Truth. I had been hearing it all my life, but I began to learn the Truth. With each whip that lashed my Savior’s back he took my pain into the wound that the lash left on his body. The thorns that were pushed onto my Lord’s skull and caused the blood to drip on his brow held my unbelief in the midst of dark moments of grief. The nail scarred hands and feet that stuck my Savior to the cross for all of the world’s sins, forgave me of my false worship. That our Lord alone conquered death. THAT OUR LORD ALONE CONQUERED DEATH!!! And with that conquering of death we do not have hope in this world, but rather a glorious hope of eternal heaven that he is still creating with no more tears. No more pain. No more suffering. A grand reunion which will be perfect. And with that conquering of death we have joy and hope in our suffering here, not in this world and most certainly not in our pain, but joy in our Savior and what he has done.
Since we lost our youngest son 15 months ago, we have continued to worship. Not because we are grander then the next worshiper, but because our Lord is worthy of it. In our pain there have been guterl cries of “why” and there have been tears of grief that have wet our pillows at night, but Jesus has been gracious and worthy of our worship because of the Truth of the Gospel. There is not a Sunday that has yet to go by where I have not stood in church with either tears in my eyes or streaming down my cheeks because of the Truth of the Gospel and the desperate need for the Savior to help through the hardness of this earth.
The Lord hears our weary and weeping worship when we are full of pain. He doesn’t care if we come to him in tears, anguish and screams. He has large shoulders. He is always giving us more then we can bare, because he is strong enough to bare it. He wants to help us in our brokenness. He wants to help our unbelief. He wants us to grip the threads at the edge of his garment. That’s why he died for us. That’s why he conquered death.
O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord-how long?
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all of my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.