How and Why to Worship God In the Midst of Pain
Seeking God through worship can be difficult when going through a painful time. But it's also essential for the Christian leader to do so.
In the five months since we buried our infant son, Parker, Bobby and I have experienced tremendous grace to daily endure the pain of living here without our child. God has helped us to know and remember what is true, and to praise Him for what He has done and what He has promised. He has shown us the power of His perfect strength in our weaknesses when we struggle to discern and deny the lies of our enemy, and when we grapple with the Truth.
We have been challenged more than ever to trust and praise God at all times because our sorrow is heavy and often dims our eyes. But no matter how sad we are, or how malicious our enemy is, Christ’s victory over death daily confronts us as a witness to the trustworthiness and praiseworthiness of our saving God. The Ruler of Everything is who He says He is. He makes good on all His promises.
We’re not alone in suffering, or in waging daily battles against a relentless foe. We’re not the only Christians tempted to remain silent and leave unsung the praises of our most worthy God. We’re not the only grieving parents who are tempted to be envious of other parents enjoying their children here. We’re not the only ones who sometimes have a hard time rejoicing with those who are rejoicing to receive their healthy babies delivered safely into their arms. We’re not the only people who wrestle with a growing desire to have children [insert your own good desire here], and constantly fight to keep this good desire from becoming an idolatrous desire. We are ALL challenged to trust and praise God at all times.
And yet, we are all still commanded by God to praise Him because He is forever worthy to be praised. He is flawless in His words and ways. His nature is perfect. He is good, kind, holy, righteous, loving, faithful, longsuffering, merciful, just, wise and true, among countless other attributes. God alone has the right to rule over everything. He is great, and greatly to be praised.
However, in praising God, we are not expected to forget our suffering or ignore our pain. We can worship Him in our suffering, with our pain. When I am gripped again with the sharp pains accompanying my awareness of Parker’s absence here, I have the opportunity to express appropriate praise to the Lord who has saved Parker, and allowed my son to be present with Him in heaven, safe forever. And I can praise Him for adopting me as His own child, and giving me life beyond the grave and a home forever with Him in heaven!
Yes, when I’m bowed low with physical pain, I have the opportunity to praise God for His promise to return and free us once and for all from every harmful effect of sin’s curse on our dying bodies and this dying world. I can praise Him for the new body He has promised to give me, and for the new heavens and new earth He has prepared. And I can praise Him for bearing immeasurable pain in His own body when He bore the wrath of God reserved for my sins. As I bear physical pain, I will praise Him because I am healed by His wounds!
Brothers and sisters, I know you understand what it’s like to endure a barrage of lies from our vengeful enemy. We grow weary as we endure his attacks. But our Father will shut that liar up when we call upon the name of Jesus and cry for help. And He will NOT hand us over to our enemies. He has already defeated our enemy, and will silence Satan forever. Our trust in the Lord, our boasting in Christ alone, our praise of His worthy Name is a powerful weapon against our vanquished foe.
In this world, we have many troubles. We are sad, and bear heavy hearts. But we are also joyfully expectant because we bear a Hope that will never be disappointed. We have the promises of Christ, Who has overcome the world and left us His gift of perfect peace. It is fitting for us to praise the Lord in the midst of our suffering. Satan wants all of us to curse God and die. He wants us to buy the lie that God is holding out on us. But this wasn’t true in the Garden, and it isn’t true now. God has given us everything we need in Christ Jesus. This is another reason to praise Him!
So, I will not curse God and die. I will bless the Lord Who gives and takes. And when I think of my son Parker and the countless other little ones that God has redeemed, I will continue to be overwhelmed by God’s goodness. How great is the redeeming love of God! How WORTHY He is to be praised! As we persevere through suffering on earth, let us join the hosts of heaven belting out the praises of God, singing the triumph of His blood, and silencing that condemned old serpent.
The Father of Lies is no match for the Father of LIFE.
Our Father, and Jesus the Son He gave up making us His own, and the Holy Spirit He gave as our Comforter, Counselor and Intercessor, should be praised now and forever!