Things are crazy right now. Things that we have always taken for granted like well stocked grocery stores and all our favorite activities are proving to be unreliable in this time. As I write this, there is a pandemic affecting the entire world. All of our activities have been cancelled, the local school districts never went back after spring break, colleges are all online, and there was a crazy run on essentials like toilet paper. The only stores open are grocery stores, hardware stores, and restaurants able to sell take out. From a worldly perspective, things are looking pretty bleak.
But, the truth is, GOD IS IN CONTROL. He is always worthy of our praise and worship. His worthiness is not dependent on our present circumstances. His glory is not because of what He has done for us. Rather, He is worthy of all our praise and worship simply because of WHO HE IS! And, the more we seek Him and worship Him, the more we get to see of who He truly is. I like how Lisa Bevere expressed this concept.
“As we seek him, we find him. With this revelation we worship and declare he alone is holy, he alone is good, he alone is the way, the truth, and the life. He alone is the Most High God.”Lisa Bevere, Without Rival
Throughout the Scriptures we see examples of people who chose to worship God despite their circumstances.
Job is probably the most well known example of someone choosing to worship God in spite of the circumstances. The book opens up with Job, a righteous man learning that all of his children, his cattle and all his possessions had been killed by invaders. If I had received that kind of news, I don’t think I would have responded the way that Job did. Here’s how Job responded:
“Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God].Job 1:20 (AMP)
Job mourned for his children. I would expect no less. He loved them. They were simply enjoying each other’s company and the many blessings they had when they were taken by surprise and killed. But, he didn’t stay in mourning. No, he mourned and he worshiped. You can do both! Job worshiped God in spite of his circumstances.
And, he continued to worship throughout the rest of the book as he is harassed by Satan over and over. He is inflicted with sores and illness. His wife turned against him. His friends, who were supposed to be there to help him, kept accusing him. But Job stood his ground. He knew that he had kept God’s commands and, yet, couldn’t understand why this was happening to him. Eventually, he called out to God himself. He took his questions to the source. And God answered him! As soon as he encountered God, he forgot about his troubles and began to praise God and all of His goodness.
Paul and Silas
In Acts 16 we see Paul and Silas on their way to the place of prayer in the temple. It was something they did most days. Along the way, a slave girl with psychic abilities kept calling everyone’s attention to them. Paul, who was annoyed with her, commanded the spirit to leave her. Her owners were upset because she could no longer make them money by telling fortunes so they attacked Paul and Silas. They were beaten and dragged out into the middle of the city where they were arrested and taken to court. They were then publicly beaten by the Roman leaders and thrown into prison in the most secure location with their legs chained to prevent their escape.
Paul and Silas could have been mad, or discouraged. But, instead, they chose to spend their time in prayer and singing a robust hymn to God! And God honored their worship in a mighty way! He caused an earthquake that knocked down the walls to the prison. But, none of the prisoners fled. As a result, Paul and Silas were given the opportunity to share the gospel with the jailer.
“Praise you in this storm”
As I close out this post, I have a song stuck in my head that I want to share with you. The words of the chorus are particularly applicable to this message…No matter what we are going through, praise him. Praise him because of who He is. Know that He has promised to never leave you and praise him. Below are the words to the chorus and the video for the song by Casting Crowns. I pray that these words will allow you to praise Him in the midst of the storm. Praise Him, in spite of the circumstances, because He Is Who He Is.
And I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
That you are who you are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this stormSource: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mark Hall / Bernie Herms
Praise You In This Storm lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management, Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group