Summary: Discover what it means and how to worship God during the hard times of life.
Are you able to worship God in the hard times? This is one of the most difficult tasks of the faith life. It is easy to worship God when the sun shines bright. It is easy to worship God when the bills are paid. It is easy to worship God when things are going well. What about during the hard times? Job gives us a good example of someone who was able to worship during the hard times. “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20-21) I want to make three observations from this text.
1. Worship is being honest with God. Job had lost his children, his land, and most of his possessions yet he worshipped God.
From this I must conclude that worship is not a feeling. I have heard people say “I didn’t feel anything.” If worship is a feeling then what happens when we get a headache or upset stomach? What happens if we get a migraine? Does that mean our faith goes dormant during those periods of time.
Illustration: Several years ago I learned a valuable lesson about feelings and worship. I was preaching a series of sermons on shepherding. Since shepherding is a part of my DNA I feel strongly about the subject. The sermons were delivered with passion. I tend to read peoples faces when I preach. I noticed one man, for whom I have much respect, was grim during those messages. Later on I asked him if he was doing okay. His response touched my heart. He said, “Pastor I was grim because your messages on shepherding have spoken to my heart.” My friend had feelings but they were reflective feelings. They were not feelings that jumped out in an emotional display. They were feelings of a heart that was touched.
If worship is being honest with God then it is not based on feelings. It is also not based on circumstances. Job had an unfavorable set of circumstances. He had suffered tremendous loss. Throughout the Bible we see expressions of praise that grew out of difficult circumstances. The Psalms were written from the midst of pain, heartache, and suffering. Paul wrote the book of Philippians from captivity, yet the theme of that book is “joy.” John wrote Revelation from exile, yet the theme of that book is “victory.”
2. Worship is trusting God. Job had lost most of his worldly possessions yet he continued to trust God.
In trusting God during the hard times that means we must trust His sovereignty.
Illustration: Warren Wiersbe wrote a book, “Victorious Christian”, about Fanny Crosby. Crosby was the author of over 8000 songs including several that we sing today. In fact she wrote so many that she had to write under pseudonymns just so she could get more of her songs into the hymnbooks. At 6 weeks of age Fanny Crosby developed a minor eye inflammation and was taken to a local doctor for treatment. However, the doctor who treated her used the wrong medicine on her eyes and she became totally and permanently blind because of his carelessness. Interviewed years later, Fanny Crosby said she harbored no bitterness against the physician. In fact, she once said, "If I could meet him now, I would say thank you, over and over again for making me blind." She felt that her blindness was a gift from God to help her write the hymns that flowed from her pen. How could Fanny Crosby, blinded by a tragic failure of a careless doctor –still be filled with such joy and power in her songs? She kept her heart focused on God. She looked up toward God rather than around at her disability and weaknesses.
(SOURCE: Jeff Strite in "We’ve Got A Secret" on www.sermoncentral.com.
Contributed by SermonCentral PRO)
In trusting God’s sovereignty that means we must trust His plans. The Bible says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. “ (Is. 55:8-9)
Illustration: A good example of this truth occurred when God led the Israelites out of Egypt. God did not chose the shortest route by which to lead them. “God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.” God protected the people by leading them on a path that would guarantee their greatest chance for success.