Friends, I need you to know why we’ve been talking so much about worship lately.
You see, sometimes something crazy rolls into your life and at first you freak out and wonder what on earth is happening, but then you catch your breath and remind yourself it must be here for a reason…
and it’s here we see just how big this thing is.
Because if it’s affecting us like this, just think of the rippling affect it could have on those around us.
When this all began, Joe’s initial concern was for our family…what would this mean for me? And for our kids?
How would his mom take the news?
All these worries streamed in really quickly
and honestly, as fast as they flooded our thoughts we knew we needed God to do something big in us to get us through it.
And that’s when we realized worship is what wins wars.
Because if we let the worry around us overwhelm us, we won’t ever have a chance in getting through the fires that find their way into our lives.
And we knew that worship couldn’t only be our response when times were good; Worship has to be our response
‘no matter what life brings.’
Worship’s our daily declaration that no matter how this thing plays out and in the end, we will still be standing in worship.
It means: When fear rises, we want our hands to rise even higher in holy surrender.
Because friend, we alone don’t have what we need for the battles we’re fighting; We need heaven to come alongside us.
And right in the middle of walking through all Joe’s Cancer God led me to the story of Paul and Silas inside of the prison cell where they chose to worship in their suffering.
As I read their familiar story with a fresh perspective,
I wondered which one of them sang the first note…
Because it always takes one person who’s courageous enough to choose worship even in the darkness of the night.
It was their desperate decision to worship within the silence of their cell that caused heaven to come to their rescue that night.
And this is what hangs within the balance every single time we choose worship in the middle of our pain too.
It was in the middle of their worship, that all of heaven broke their chains and set them free.
Friends, it’s easy for us to praise God when life is good, but it’s so much harder to praise Him in the middle of our pain.
But it’s here God unlocks our pain and sets us free.
Freedom from our constant struggles,
freedom from our worrying and
freedom from all which distracts us from him.
It says as they were worshiping God…‘the other prisoners were listening to them…’
And just like Paul and Silas, when we’re in the middle of something hard, there’s always people who are listening to our response…
Because sometimes friend, our choice to worship leads to other’s freedom too.
The story continues telling of the miracle that happened as they worshiped,
‘At once ALL the prison doors flew OPEN, and EVERYONE’S chains came LOOSE.’
Did you read that?
Even their onlookers were set free because of their decision to worship.
God changed the whole room because of their brave choice to praise him in the middle of their pain.
Not only were those two men freed from their circumstances but the whole prison found freedom that night.
Friend, our seemingly hopeless and dire situations have the power to affect entire communities of people.
Our response in suffering MATTERS…not only for us, but for others too!
Because worship always leads to freedom.
Joe has a large scar in the crease of his neck from his recent surgeries.
His doctor purposefully placed it here, to make it less noticeable.
I suppose that’s what they do to make them not so obvious.
But as I ran my finger over it last night, I realized what all this scar truly represents…
Because despite what society sells us, there’s no cream that’s going to erase the stories it will tell.
And honestly I wouldn’t want it to.
Because scars aren’t meant to be hidden or covered up…they’re not a sign ‘something is wrong’ with us…
…They’re where stories tell how growth, recovery and healing are happening.
And honestly besides Joe, I’m the only one who truly knows the details of these stories
…and friend this is truly a gift when we’re invited into stories like this.
Because as we experience pain beside others we learn a little bit more about what it means to be human.
Sometimes, we can even feel like a piece of us is scarred as we care for those we love.
Because we know the intimate details, we see how they’re surviving this thing and in the midst of it all we can feel like we’re just surviving too.
Because in moments like this we realize how so much of our lives are truly connected to others as we share wounds and stories.
And this is truly the beautiful part of being human…Because this means we’re never alone in healing.
Because right beside us, there are people witnessing how we’re doing this thing and the truth is we need them beside us as much as they need us.
And when we let one another get this close, we’re choosing to be real and we’re choosing love and this is a powerful gift in healing.
Lately every time I run my finger over his scar I’m grateful, because I know he didn’t have to live these days vulnerably beside me, he didn’t have to invite me in but he did and knowing this makes a huge difference in how we’re healing these days.
And this is true with God too.
He didn’t have to choose to have a relationship with us, he didn’t have to choose to save us but he did and because of this choice worship should flow out of us every single day….
Whether we’re on the mountain top or in the valley, because he’s no less God on either side…