Worshiping – No Matter the Circumstances

worship night in americaIt was a beautiful night. Over 100 hundred gathered – from every denomination – from every generation – from across Indiana – and together we worshiped the living God – the good, good Father – the Lord of all. At times during the simulcast of Worship Night in America, one couldn’t hear the recorded voices from the speakers because the live voices in the Church drowned them out. People danced, cried, prayed, knelt, sung – and the Spirit of the Lord was present.

Some who passed by might have thought some great celebration was taking place. And truth be told, there was a great celebration. We all celebrated – not our circumstances – not our situations – not our “stuff” – but we celebrated that we have a God who listens, who cares, who loves, who invites us to come and worship.

But by the world’s standards, those who gathered likely had little to celebrate. Lost jobs, financial crises, devastating diagnoses, wayward children, election woes, addiction, mental health challenges and more weighed heavy on hearts gathered in the Church. If we had simply looked at our own situations – our own struggles – we would have gathered to weep and to mourn. And yet we worshiped. We lifted our eyes from our own circumstances to focus on the One who sees us, the One who hears us, the One who loves us. And so we worshiped.

I imagine the same could be said of Hannah – the focus of this week’s scripture from 1 Samuel 2. After longing for a child and lamenting her barrenness, Hannah promised God that if He would give her a son, she would give that son back to the Lord for all the days of his life. I imagine many of us have made such promises and bargains with God….”If you do this God, I promise to do that.” Whether Hannah’s promise was made in haste or sincere commitment, she followed through. She made good on her promise. Samuel was born to her, and shortly after weaning the toddler, she brought him to the Temple, dedicated him to the Lord, and left him there in service of the Lord.

Heartache, loss, grief, depression, anger. I imagine any number of these emotions could have flooded Hannah’s heart. A child she longed for – she hoped for – she had prayed for – had come…and gone. Quickly. In her life, and in a flash, gone again. It would be understandable for us to imagine that she cried, despaired, and perhaps even questioned her promises. And yet, she worshiped.

MYE Faith 2015 by Catholic Diocese of Sagina..“My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high….There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”

I wonder what it is you’re facing this week? What challenges and frustrates you? What grieves your heart? What has taken your focus off God and fixed it solely on your circumstances? Might you raise your eyes, just a bit, to the One who is greater than your circumstances? To the One who created and loves you? To the One who is beyond situations and challenges? Fix your eyes on Him. Worship Him in spirit and truth. Hold fast to the only reliable, trustworthy, unchanging reality in today’s world.

Yes – pour out your heart to Him who hears. Yes – cry tears of pain to Him who sees. And then – however boldly or weakly you can – lift your eyes, your hands, your voice, your spirit – and worship.