The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
I heard a sermon a few weeks ago on worship and a bit of it has stuck with me. I always think of the singing part of church, the hymns and contemporary songs and collective deep breaths, as praise. It’s a conversation with God that gets you grooving to His tune.
But that’s not all worship is designed for. If you think about the Psalms, you see it more clearly. David sings in every situation. He sings to God when he’s happy. He sings to Him when he’s scared. He sings to Him when he’s lonely and hiding on a hillside and missing his best friend. His life is a musical, a La La Land sing-a-thon where every emotion gets its own score.
I think worship can be about more than praise. It can be a crying out in times of need. It can come with Kleenex and shoulders to lean on. It can be both “this little light of mine” bursting with joy and “what a friend we have in Jesus,” hanging heavy with sorrow and solace.
Do you know why the Life Alert Button never did very well–the one from the infomercial: “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”? Nobody ever pushed the button. They thought their situation wasn’t serious enough or they forgot the button was there. I think worship music can be an excellent Life Alert. It reminds us that God is there, waiting to help when we’ve fallen on hard times or hard emotions. It is our calling out. We can clap our hands or bow our heads or snuffle our way through the words too difficult to choke out. All of it is music to God’s ears because we’re talking to Him.
Paul Tripp in his devotional, New Morning Mercies, writes, “If you silence your cries, crying only to yourself, you will feel increasingly alone and without anyone who cares and understands, and you’ll feel more and more helpless. The good news of the Gospel is that you don’t have to muffle your cries. You don’t have to feel ashamed that you have a reason to cry.”
Crying out to God, especially in worship with all those other people there, takes great courage. It takes bravery to make a singing confession that you are in pain and can’t get over it without help. But it opens the curtains on your life. It shakes off the musty stink of isolation and brings in a draft of fresh air. When I think of it that way, I’m not ashamed when I cry sad tears when I sing or when I can’t sing at all because my throat closes up. I think God appreciates all of it. I think His life, and ours, is a musical.
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A big thank you from Jamie on The Mom Gene!