“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1 NKJV
If you have been around Christians for any length of time, I’m certain that you’ve heard this statement at least once if not many times. It’s a powerful statement, for it declares that regardless of what may be occurring in life, you will continue to praise God. It’s an easy declaration to make when things are going great, kind of sort of good, or okay, but what about when it hurts? When you are disappointed, broken, distraught, delayed, empty, and seemingly defeated, can you still bless the Lord?
Saturday our congregation found itself in mourning as we lost the life of a wonderful teenager, Miles Blackwell. When I arose on Sunday, the first thing that came to mind was, “What will worship be like?” For the past several months, worship has been indescribable. The presence of God has been so overwhelming that members hate missing service and Sunday worship has become a hot topic for Facebook (also referred to as Spacebook by our pastor). How would people worship after suffering such a loss?
As I pondered the possible shift in worship, God reminded me that worship is in order even when it hurts. Worship is not something that we do only when “we feel like it.” Instead, “Praise is what I do, EVEN WHEN I’M GOING THE THROUGH, I’ve learned to worship You. I vow to praise You, through the good and the bad. I’ll praise You, whether happy or sad. I’ll praise You, in all that I go through, because praise is what I do.”
Praising God in spite of hurt can be seen through two great characters of the bible. In the first chapter of Job, we find that Job loses ten children and all his earthly possessions, yet he bows down to worship God (Job 1:20). In Genesis 22, Abraham similarly worships God after being instructed to sacrifice his only son whom he loves (Genesis 22:1-5). Here we have two men, broken, mourning, hurt, but still worshiping.
Through these men, we come to understand what Jesus means when He speaks of true worshipers. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23 NKJV. True worshipers bless the Lord even when it hurts! It’s not enough simply to praise God when things are well. True worship requires that we sacrifice our feelings, emotion, pride, and yes, our very lives to bless God (Romans 12:1 NLT).
Unfortunately, in this life we shall encounter mountaintops and valleys. There will be days when blessing God will come with ease. But, there will also be days when praising God may seem hard. I pray that when the latter days come you remember Abraham and Job and continue to worship even when it hurts. We certainly did!
Thank You for giving us the strength to worship during hard times. When it hurts, help us to remember the One whom we worship, rather than the things that we endure. Teach us how to bless You at all times, understanding that You are worthy of praise even when it hurts. Father, we bless You for the wonderful God that You are. May Your name be exalted throughout the earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Ladies, I EMPOWER you to worship God when it hurts. Practice blessing God not only during good times but also during times of difficulty. God is seeking true worshipers. I urge you to let your worship be real.
In Loving Memory of Miles Blackwell
Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise the Lord Anyhow!
Ms. Latasha McCrary is an active member of St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville, AL where she serves as a Young Adult Facilitator and is training as a Life Skills Coach. She is passionate about the practice of law and views her profession as an extension of her calling to serve. Latasha firmly believes that “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy” and is grateful for God’s continuing favor evidenced in her life. “By this I know that you favor me, because you have not let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalms 41:11)