How to Take Charge of Your Difficult Day
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. Psalm 63:3–4 (NKJV)
I couldn’t see. Fog clouded my mind. The sounds around me echoed with chaos. My awakening slumber felt heavy, calling me to return. As daylight flooded my eyes, I started to remember what was happening. Only hours before, or perhaps it was days—my sense of time was far gone—a doctor had pronounced I was dying. They had discovered my heart lacked the strength to pump blood through my body. I was in an ICU, and the medical team was trying to save me. Machines beeped, buzzed and whirred declaring their never-ending alliance for health. My deep sleep was medically induced, and I surfaced only occasionally to remind everyone I was still alive.
I have no idea how many times I went through this wake/sleep pattern. I remember sometimes a nurse called my name. Other times, I felt my wife’s tears rolling down my cheek. But the sounds of the ICU always remained. The machines never stopped. On one such awakening, however, an added sound was introduced to the atmosphere. It was the sound of life. I heard worship masking the hum of machines. During my slumber, a friend had turned on a worship CD. The music I heard spoke hope; the words echoed salvation. At each awakening, I found my heart more and more encouraged. Eventually, I was completely healed. The Lord restored strength to my physical heart, but my recovery process was long and I bathed each day in worship.
When we go through difficult days, worship can be a faithful shield. But how exactly does worship provide life in dark seasons? I have three thoughts.
Worship is declaration. In the Old Testament, we see the prophet Jeremiah crying out: “Heal me, O Lord and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for You are my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14, NKJV). When facing challenging moments, we tend to look for hope. In those times, often any hope will do—the secure nod of a trusted doctor or the touch of a faithful friend. But God is our ultimate hope, and what He declares can never be defeated. Your heart will always be encouraged when you join His chorus and declare what is already true: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV). When we worship, we not only worship the source of healing and salvation, we declare—as Jeremiah did—the truth of what God has already completed, and our hearts are infused with hope.
Worship connects us to salvation. Whenever I’m facing challenging circumstances, my typical first prayer is: “Lord, please get me out of this mess!” I want the situation to end as quickly as possible. I don’t want to strengthen my character. I’m not interested in developing perseverance. I just want to be saved. Any salvation will do—even an imperfect one. Worship, however, connects us to the Source of perfect, lasting salvation. He alone can deliver. In 2 Samuel 22, we see David’s first response after being delivered from his enemies was to praise God: “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies” (2 Samuel 22:4, NKJV). There is no greater source of salvation than the voice of God. And as we make worship the first response to difficult days and situations, our hearts turn away from our selfish solutions and towards God’s voice.
Worship is opposition. Difficult days tend to wear a person down. Over time we begin to gripe and complain just like the Israelites did when they left Egypt. Our mouths can unintentionally fill with words that neither lift our heart nor change the circumstance. Worship opposes the unhealthy syllables we murmur during dark seasons. Once again, we can learn from David’s example. During a difficult season of hardship and persecution, David sang these words of praise: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1, NKJV). When we continually declare God’s praises with our hearts and lips, words of defeat have absolutely no room to prosper.
The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become—in this life—the most perfect worshippers of God we can possibly be … as we hope to be through all eternity. BROTHER LAWRENCE
Lord, thank You for how worship empowers me to overcome my crisis. With my mouth, I will adore You. Your praise shall continually be on my tongue. I know Your declarations for me overwhelm anything the Enemy would speak against me, so I let those truths resonate from my voice. You alone are the source of my salvation, and in You alone will I trust. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflect on previous crisis moments in your life. What was your normal first response? What changes can you make to become a worship-first responder? How might you help others learn to worship when they face a crisis?
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Written by Robb Brewer
Taken from Love Expressed, a Gateway devotion.