I’ve wanted to start a series of devotions based on worship music for a while now. Personally, music touches the core of who I am and can speak truth into places that are cold and hard to the influence of anything else. It melts me, inspires me, heals me, encourages me, fills me with joy, with gratitude, with power, with memories and with praise for someone much greater than the circumstances around me. Lots of music touches me, not just worship music; but, when I feel lost, scared, confused or broken I know I need time alone with something that refocuses my heart and mind on God.
Today I needed that. I need a whole lot of that lately.
This world is sucking the joy and courage from my soul and I find myself just numb. It seems to me that the tender side of humanity is fueled by empathy so even if we aren’t directly involved with something, simply hearing about hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wars, genocides, slavery, starvation, poverty and the effects that all these things have on other humans is hell brought to earth. Add to that terrorism of all kinds…simple, unadulterated hate…and it’s just too much.
As I’ve been praying lately, I keep coming back to the statement that Jesus made in the gospels. (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) Basically, things are going to get worse.
And yet, we often act shocked and surprised by the tragedy that we see around us even though we’ve been told to expect it. We’ve even been told it will affect us personally. Jesus didn’t say we should expect riches, perfect health or an easy life. Quite the opposite.
Yes, God blesses us, all of us. Even in the darkest of times there are blessings to be found. As Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
I believe that’s not only true but it should be even more so in the lives of believers.
Those same passages that warn us of the evil we will face also reveal the calling of Christ to His followers in the midst of them. In the face of these tragedies, (and often because of them), we are called to share the truth of His love and grace. The gospel is seen in the hands and feet of God’s people helping. It’s expressed in the words of humility and love. It’s felt when people put aside their own comfort, safety or even rights for the good of someone else.
To me, that’s worship.
As much as I love music, a series on worship would be incomplete without basing it on the fact that worship is expressed in how we live. In what we say and don’t say. In how we love people that may not agree with us. In how we continue to live in gratitude, joy and peace regardless of the evil and fear that is rampaging this earth.
Today, I played Hillsong’s “So Will I” over and over and over again. This song has brought me to tears for weeks, but today it was new. It not only spoke to the beauty of nature that shows God’s greatness, to the grace that has covered my life and to the love that He has for all human beings but it spoke to my calling as His child.
My call to worship Him.
To reveal His nature.
To obey Him.
To bow in reverence.
To lift Him high.
To go where He sends.
To leave my past behind me.
To surrender to His purposes.
To love people.
The question, and the struggle, is whether I will do so in the face of evil that dares me to do otherwise.