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By Michael W. Smith With Wendy Lee Nentwig
J. Countryman It's one thing to praise God when all is going well. You have enough to eat, a roof over your head, work to occupy your hands, and family and friends to share it with. But what about when hard times come and the world is watching to see how you respond?
Copyright © 2001 Michael W. Smith.
All rights reserved.
Job had just received word that his children and all his livestock were dead. Upon hearing the news, the Bible tells us he tore his robe and fell on the ground before God. A fitting response, many would agree. But then he did something unusual: Rather than asking "why me?" as so many of us would do, Job said, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!" (Job 11:21, NLT).
There can be a release and a real freedom in worshiping in the hard times. It can be hard to do sometimes, but it works. And through it, God does something to your heart. Things might continue to be tough for a while, but the burden suddenly doesn't feel so heavy. And I think that's just what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to praise Him no matter what.
Worship is Submission.
True worship comes in when you let go of the things that have a hold on you and just go, "Lord, this is my life and all this other stuff doesn't mean anything." You let God take control and thensuddenly all you want your life to be about is building the kingdom of God. When you get to that place, I can't imagine worship being any better than that.
O, worship the King, all glorious above: O gratefully sing His power and His love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise!
from the hymn "o, worship the king" Robert Grant (1833)
It was late, around midnight, or so we're told in Acts 16:25. Paul and Silas found themselves alone, in a dark prison, and facing an uncertain future. Lesser men might have been worrying about what would happen next or wondering if God had forgotten them. But not this faithful twosome.
Although separated from everyone they loved and stripped of their freedom, Paul and Silas kept praying and singing to God, worshiping instead of despairing. Their fellow prisoners noticed their behaviorand they certainly noticed the surprising events that followed. As songs of faith wafted through the jail, an earthquake rocked the place. The cell doors flew open and the prisoners' chains fell away.
Can you imagine what the other prisoners must have thought? We know how the guard responded. He fell trembling before Paul and Silas, and he begged them to tell him how to be saved. And it's a safe bet the guard wasn't the only conversion that night.
Freedom in Song
o soul, are you weary and troubled? no light in the darkness you see? there's a light for a look at the savior, and life more abundant and free! turn your eyes upon jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. from the hymn "turn your eyes upon jesus" helen h. lemmel (1922)
Excerpted from WORSHIP by Michael W. Smith With Wendy Lee Nentwig. Copyright © 2001 by Michael W. Smith. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.