I believe it is possible, because I’ve lived it, that there will be a day in our lives when we will look back and see the hard times with fresh clarity. We will have cried out to God for help – and He will have helped, though maybe not how we expected at the time.
In the raw moments of our hardship it is difficult to see it that way. But on the other side of dark times it is incredibly faith-building to declare, and remember, the grace of God. The hopeful thing to cling to for today is this: if we can drag this truth – that God will come through – into the moment of hardship now, we will make it.
Throughout history God-seekers have taken time to declare truths they’ve experienced. It is sometimes referred to as “worship.” It is not about “singing songs that make me feel close to God.” Instead it is, as Richard Foster says, “our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father.” It is a “discipline” even, as we choose to take the time to sing, speak out – or dance “among the wildflowers” as the great Tom Petty says – in response to the truth of God’s love for us. Worship is an “ordered way of acting and living that sets us before God so he can transform us.”
One of my favorite exchanges in the Bible is in Psalm 30 as David tells the story of God’s loving hand in his life. Eugene Peterson’s Message translation is particularly poignant. Read it below as a prayer today. Declare God’s grace – whether you’re in the middle of that tough time, to find hope, or whether on the other side, to be reminded. God is good. He is kind and compassionate and He loves you. He is gracious. It is His nature, and we can trust it. Let us worship Him together.
Psalm 30 The Message (MSG)
A David Psalm
I give you all the credit, God—
you got me out of that mess,
you didn’t let my foes gloat.
God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.
All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.
When things were going great
I crowed, “I’ve got it made.
I’m God’s favorite.
He made me king of the mountain.”
Then you looked the other way
and I fell to pieces.
I called out to you, God;
I laid my case before you:
“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead?
auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs
and stories of you won’t sell.
So listen! and be kind!
Help me out of this!”
You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Joel & Jeff