Most days it’s easy for me to worship the Lord. You know how it is: life rolls along for a while without any major bumps in the road and we soon find ourselves in a pretty comfortable place—the place where we worship God naturally, not just singing, but thanking, trusting, and resting in Him. Things are good in our marriages, our jobs, our finances, and our friendships… hallelujah! God is good! Honor His name! Hail to the king! Praise can be an effortless response when our circumstances are calm.
The problem is, the road never stays smooth for long. Inevitably, things get bumpy. Trials come. Challenges hit. We’re busy or stressed. We have to deal with unanswered prayer. Someone treats us unkindly. We enter a season of pain, or we have to watch someone we love go through a difficult time. Our faith fades quickly, and as a result, we’re tempted to walk away from worship.
True worship, however, has very little to do with us and our specific situations, and everything to do with God and His absolute sovereignty. Some in the Bible understood this concept; no matter what their circumstances, they never stopped worshipping the Lord.
Mary was busy, but she worshipped nonetheless. In Luke 10, we read about Mary and Martha— two sisters who had a lot of work to do. Martha fussed and fretted while planning, preparing, and organizing for the day. Mary, however, “… sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (Luke 10:39), which Jesus commended her for. Listening to His voice is a powerful form of worship.
Paul was mistreated, but he worshipped nonetheless. Paul endured many hardships, one of which was unjust imprisonment. After he and Silas were arrested (Acts 16), they were beaten and shackled. But soon thereafter, Paul started to sing hymns. (Acts 16:25). He saw a clear choice: to focus on unfair abuse, or to pour out his love to God. Pouring out our love to Jesus is an impactful type of worship.
Hannah faced unanswered prayer, but she worshipped nonetheless. We learn in 1 Samuel about Hannah, who prayed desperately for a baby. She was “in great anguish and grief … a woman deeply troubled” (1 Samuel 1:15–16). She longed to become pregnant, but even before she knew for certain if her deepest desire would be fulfilled, she worshipped God (v. 19). Bringing our empty and broken hearts before Him is one of the sweetest kinds of worship.
Job was hit with massive loss, but he worshipped nonetheless. The most famous of the afflicted in the Bible is Job, who was tested beyond what most of us can imagine. He was overwhelmed by so much despair that those around him encouraged him to just give up. But Job looked at his misery and did something remarkable: he “fell to the ground in worship” (Job 1:20). Choosing not to give up on God is profound worship.
Wherever we find ourselves today, no matter what we’re facing, let’s be determined to be like these Bible greats. By following their lead, we in turn can become an example for our kids, our families, and our friends, to worship Him … nonetheless.
Set aside a time this month to talk with your children about something they may be experiencing that feels difficult. Then share with them how important it is to worship God even in a season of pain. Read Psalm 34:1–3 together and then pray, thanking God for His unending love in your life.
I will praise the Lord no matter what happens.
I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.
I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let
all who are discouraged take heart. Let us
praise the Lord together and exalt his name.
(Psalm 34:1–3 TLB)