When Worship Hurts


I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises.

- Psalm 34:1

I used to think that worship meant singing songs at church on Sunday morning.

I used to think that it meant clapping along to cheesy guitar rhythms and drum beats while repeating the same lyrics over and over. I used to think that it meant singing the words “Hallelujah” or “God is good” or “Amen” over and over with a smile on my face. The smile on my face that I had to show everyone on Sunday morning so that I looked like a good Christian worshipping my Jesus.

But worship is different than I thought.

Worship, in fact, isn’t all about singing after all. It’s not even just about declaring the cliche Christian phrases like “Hallelujah” or “Praise God.”

You see, I thought of worship as an external act, but I learned that worship is more about an internal act.

Worship is about my attitude toward God, my relationship with God, and my love for God.

I learned that washing my dishes with a heart of gratitude for what God has given me can be an act of worship. I learned that singing Chris Tomlin songs in my car on my way to work can be an act of worship. I learned that reading my Bible or memorizing Scripture can be an act of worship too. I learned that any area of my life where I am showing an attitude of honor and gratitude and awe towards my God can be an act of worship to Him. I learned that doing my favorite hobby - such as writing - with the desire to glorify God through it, was an incredible act of worship to Him.

And maybe most importantly of all I learned that one of the most important things I can offer to Him in worship is my broken heart and my broken life.

You see, my broken hallelujah with tears streaming down my face can be a deeper act of worship to Him than when I hide my pain behind my smile and cliche Christian phrases.

One of the greatest ways that I can worship Him is by acknowledging my pain and my hurt... and then praising Him in spite of it.

So often we can think that to worship God we have to hide all that junk and hurt and messy, painful things. But really? He wants that part of you, girl.

He wants the messy, broken pieces. Because it takes strength to declare, “My heart is broken... but even so, He is good. Even so He is my God. And even so I trust in Him.”

You can worship God while sitting on your bathroom floor with your back against the wall as tears stream down your cheeks. You can worship Him while hugging a friend who needs some encouragement to keep going in life, even when your own heart hurts. You can worship Him while admitting the hurt but acknowledging that He is greater. Not denying the pain, no. For you can recognize the pain’s presence while also recognizing its place. And pain’s place never comes before the greatness or goodness of God - it can never be greater than that, no matter how much it hurts.

So worship Him there. Worship Him in the dark valley. It’ll look differently than you might think. But it’ll be beautiful. A beautiful brokenness that shows the world His power and goodness.

That is a worship that will change your life.

Reflection

1. What are some ways that you have learned to worship, even in your pain?

2. How do you think it’s possible to worship when it hurts?

3. When have you experienced God’s presence in your worship the most?

Prayer

Dear God, I love You and I want to worship You with my life, not just my words. Please help me to worship You here. Give me the strength to praise You, even when it hurts. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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