A thematic and oft-repeated invitation in the Bible is the call to worship even in the middle of difficult circumstances and discouraging events. Noah worshipped in the ark, Moses worshipped in the wilderness and Daniel prayed in the lion's den.
The three Hebrew boys worshipped in the fire, Jonah called out to God from the belly of a great fish and David worshipped the Lord in the middle of emotional pain and despair. Paul worshipped in prison, Esther fasted when faced with the massacre of her people and Job trusted the Lord when his entire life was attacked by the evil one.
Our greatest praise and our highest worship to God the Father should always be the best part of every day, even in the mess that we have made of planet Earth. Our most vibrant thanksgiving should never take a vacation nor should it be dictated by the condition of the world around us.
"Without worship we go about miserable," A. W. Tozer said.
Sincere worship always requires a sacrifice by a man or woman of God; it is often not an easy choice but it is inevitably the most valuable and eternal choice. Genuine worship may demand the dying to feelings or to selfish entitlement. You may not "feel" like singing—but sing anyway. You may not "feel" like fasting—but fast anyway. You may not "feel" like praying—but pray anyway.
Charles Spurgeon said, "God is to be praised with the voice, and the heart should go wherewith in holy exultation."
David is one of the heroes of the faith in the Bible who chose to worship the Lord in spite of his strong and relentless feelings. This giant-killer who became king was unable to deny the power of praise and worship in an ordinary person's life. David often did not "feel" like worshipping the Lord, yet he commanded his soul to sing in spite of his emotional valley. David spoke directly to his soul, which is the birthplace of emotions, affections and desires, and commanded his depressed and stubborn soul to sing a song of praise to his God and King:
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (Ps. 103:1-2).
David knew what you and I often ignore: If you long to be healed of your human pain, you must worship the one who never changes! If your heart's desire is to rise above your circumstances, you must place your eyes on the only one who is able to move mountains. If you long to have a reservoir of strength in the deepest part of your soul, you will offer a sacrifice of praise to the one who created you.
"The most valuable thing the psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance," C.S. Lewis said.
Worship will inevitably take your eyes off of your own pain and rejection and then deservedly place them on the God who cares about you. The choice to sing in the middle of the storm removes the attention from your impossibility and brings into focus the wonder of the God to whom nothing is impossible!
When you worship in spite of your circumstances and in defiance to your emotions, you will wonderfully and miraculously increase a holy and divine awareness of God and all that He is.
To quote Francis Chan: "Isn't it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?"
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical, biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol has written 11 books, including Significant, StormProof and Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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