It’s been a rough week. Nothing is going terribly wrong in my life, but nothing seems to be going right either. Life’s tough, and it’s hard to be joyful when you can’t really find a reason to be. I know without a doubt that God is using my circumstances for His glory, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine how. I’m human, so I’ll admit that. It’s been a long, exhausting day at school. I come home, change clothes, and head out the door to go to a concert at the local public high school.
Kari Jobe is leading worship. This is my first time seeing her in person. My first impression: her outfit’s cute. Did I mention I’m human? Anyway, the concert I’m at is called “Hope 4 Healing.” A local pastor organized this event because there have been many, many tragedies in the community recently, and a lot of people are emotionally scarred and hurt. I’m at this concert with my youth group. Kari starts singing “Healer,” and I immediately notice how she loses herself in the music and focuses completely on worshipping God. I think the whole room can sense it. I’m only speaking for myself when I say this, but this is one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Actually, it’s not even a concert. It’s about worshipping God through music and reaching out to Him for healing. I am not close to any of the families who have recently lost loved ones in the area, but I have my own problems. At first, I feel guilty for focusing on myself when there are others facing much worse than I am. But then I remember something: God is at this service for everyone. He knows we all have different junk in our lives, and He wants to heal all of us!
Kari Jobe is singing some powerful stuff. Actually, she is just opening her mouth and letting the Spirit of God guide her. It is incredible. As she sings Revelation Song and Our God, I close my eyes. I reach out for God. I sing to Him, letting Him know I need Him; letting Him know I can’t do this without Him. I feel like I am the only one in the auditorium. I forget my friends standing on either side of me, and I forget everyone else in the room. I even forget Kari Jobe.
God never leaves me, I know this is true, but sometimes I feel distant. I know that happens to everyone at some time or another. Every now and then, we need a chance to make ourselves slow down and cry out for His help. We need a chance to feel His strength and love as we hold His hand, because oftentimes we try to take the lead and our grip loosens. There’s something powerful about group worship, in that it is not group worship at all. You see, when a group of people is truly worshipping God, they temporarily forget they are in a group. True worshippers lose all concern for who is around them and what they are doing. True worship is saying, “This is me God. I know it’s not much, but this is all of me. I’m here for You, God, all of me.”
I’m standing in the dark auditorium. At least, I think it’s dark. I don’t really know because my eyes are closed. All I know is that I’m telling God I love Him. I’m telling Him I really love Him, and I’m falling even more in love with Him than ever before. I’m asking Him to take my problems and use them for His glory. I’m begging Him to take my life and use it for His glory. I’m pleading that, no matter what happens, He will make it into something to show His glory. See, I’m admitting it’s all about Him. It always has been, it’s just sometimes I forget, because I’m—you guessed it—human.
But thankfully, God loves humans. God wants us to want Him. God isn’t going to drag us kicking and screaming and force us to obey Him. Oh, no. God waits patiently for us to take the first step. My youngest sister is just beginning to walk. She knows that her first step will be wobbly, because she’s on her own, but after that, someone’s hands will reach out and take hers. And then she’ll hold on for all she’s worth and not let go. Let’s make the connection: When we seek God, we must take our first, shaky baby-step on our own. After we invite God to help us, he quickly reaches out His hands so we can grab on to them. And then, we still shake a little sometimes, but we take comfort in the fact that our little hands are intertwined with the hands of our Savior. How incredible! My little sister will all too soon begin walking on her own, no hand-holding involved. I pray I never become strong enough to walk on my own. I know that’s not possible, but sometimes I feel like I know how to do things, and I loosen my grip. It’s only after I lose my balance and painfully fall on the floor that I cry out to God and re-take His hand. Each time I stumble, I learn something new. Thankfully, God loves me, and He’ll never stop offering His support. How awesome is the God we serve! He is always willing to hold my hand, even though I fail Him so many times! It makes me want to love Him like crazy!
The concert ends. I put on my jacket and go home. The next night, I decide to blog about my experience. I start out giving a dictionary definition of worship, but I’m not satisfied. I get a feeling to just start typing. I type, and type, and type, and before I know it, I’ve typed exactly what’s on my heart without looking back at what I’ve just written and without editing a single thing. In other words, what you’re seeing is real. It’s honest. And it’s typed exactly as it came from my heart. As I write, I always realize something I’ve never noticed before. Tonight I notice how I am being a difference. I’m not being a change-the-world kind of difference right now, but I’m different than I was last night. I’m even different than I was when I sat down to write this blog entry. You see, God is showing me lots of things, and I’m trying my best not to blink and miss out. Let me encourage you to truly silence your heart and mind and really worship God. Don’t just show up at church Sunday morning, sing a hymn, and only close your eyes when the congregation prays. Everyone has their own, unique way of worshipping God, but don’t be afraid to forget yourself and your surroundings for a few minutes. I promise if you do, you’ll never be the same. If you reach out and hold God’s hand, He will mold you into something beautiful. Acknowledge Him for Who He is, and I promise, when you re-enter the real world, you will be a difference.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~Psalm 46:10 (NIV)