By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
When we go through difficult seasons, one of the first things we ask is why?
Why now? Why us? But simply asking God “why” isn’t always that productive. We should also be asking: what can I learn from this? Asking “what” gets our focus back where it needs to be...on our Father.
Another way to get our focus back where it belongs is to worship God. Here are nine benefits of worshiping during your ‘why?’ seasons:
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1. Worship Puts Our Focus in the Right Place
Often when we are going through trials, the trials somehow get bigger in our minds than who God is. And the longer we dwell on the circumstances the more they seem to grow. But when we focus our thoughts on who God is, we see our circumstances start shrinking. The hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, by Helen Howarth Lemmel, said it well:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.
Over and over in scripture, we read about how mighty God is. When we are surrounded by obstacles we need to remember that God is all powerful. God said, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind, is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27).
2. Worship Satisfies Our Souls
When our bodies are hungry, we get food for nourishment. Worry wears down our souls. We become weary and we lose heart. The remedy (or nourishment) for this is worship. We were made to worship. And when we worship, we can feel the cool water quench our thirst. It’s a thirst that nothing else can satisfy.
David knew this, and often would go to the sanctuary to seek God and just sit in his presence. And after spending time alone with the Lord, David’s soul was satisfied and his mouth praised God with joyful lips (Psalm 63:1-5).
When Jesus became weary, he would draw away by himself to be with his Father. And he would get rejuvenated. We know God refreshes us when we turn to Him and worship. Even though our circumstances don’t change, we are able to continue on being strengthened by Him.
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3. Worship Grows Our Faith
This earth is the only place we’ll ever need faith. Like other muscles in our body, in order to grow them, we need to exercise them. When we get to heaven, we will know the answers to questions that have plagued us for years. Worshiping God reminds us of all the things God has brought us through.
When David faced Goliath, he was reminded of God’s strength and how God helped him before in his times of need.
Faith is what made David run toward the giant—instead of away from him (which is what every other person had done). As we worship, our Spirit reminds us of God’s character. Even verses we had learned years ago will pop up in our minds confirming that faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17).
4. Worship Brings Us Closer to God
I sat in an empty room as I waited to testify at my sister’s murder trial. It was the perfect time and place to pray. That was my plan. So I quietly started praying, but before I knew it, I was singing. My prayers turned into soft hymns that floated into my mind. And while my body was sitting at 26th and California, in Chicago, I felt I was sitting on God’s lap softly singing into his ear.
And when the officer came to escort me into the courtroom, I didn’t go in alone. My God went with me.
As Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, he poured his broken heart out to God who was listening. We don’t have to see God to love him. We can see him with our spiritual eyes. Though we do not see him, we love him. And even though we don’t see him now, we believe, and are filled with an inexpressible glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8). And knowing our faith in God pleases him makes the trials less burdensome. For the Bible tells us without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
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5. Worship Makes Us Thankful
It’s impossible to be thankful and full of worry at the same time. Gratitude is a choice. It is us saying: yes, things are difficult right now, and this trial seems overwhelming at times, but—as I’m thinking about who God really is and how he’s helped me through every other trial I’ve gone through—my heart is overflowing with love for all God has done.
And since God is immutable, which means he doesn’t change, I know that God will help me again. While I wait, I’m not alone, because God promised he would never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5).
Sometimes as I sit and worship, I feel thankful that God trusts me enough to handle what is before me. If you’ve ever seen people go through one thing after another, and yet, keep praising God, you know what I’m talking about.
Going through trials can make you bitter, or they can strengthen the relationship you have with God. Instead of feeling like God is picking on you, you feel humbled that God knows you will use this circumstance as another opportunity to lean into Him.
He’s trusting us to trust Him and then when we get through it, we can praise Him to others and share how once again he got us through another trial.
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6. Worship Means We’re Letting Go of ‘Why’
Often as humans, we like feeling like we are in control. But when we go through trials and we choose to worship God, we are making a conscious decision to trust God even though we don’t understand what he’s going to do.
God tells us his ways and thoughts are higher than ours, and I know that’s true, but I still struggle at times (Isaiah 55:8-9). The truth is, I want to control things in my life.
When we choose to worship, we are acknowledging we are not in control. It is a conscious decision to submit to God. The first time I truly submitted to God, I almost heard something break. I think it was my will. And that is a good kind of breaking.
It wasn’t me waving a white flag in desperation, saying to God, “I give up!” But instead it was me realizing God is God...and I am not. He is the potter and we are the clay.
7. Worship Is Our Best Warfare against the Enemy
Satan was not always the enemy of God. Satan used to be a beautiful angel named Lucifer. He was even in charge of worship. But one day, Lucifer decided he wanted to be higher than God. So God removed Lucifer from heaven. He became Satan and when he left, he took 1/3 of the angels with him, known as demons (Isaiah 14:12-15).
Satan’s destiny is sure. He can never go to heaven, so he hates those of us who trust in what Jesus did on the cross. Satan’s job is to make us miserable. If we struggle in this life, Satan is the one who whispers lies to us.
God doesn’t care about you
If God loved you, why are you going through this?
You’re a fool to trust in God
And the best weapon we have against the enemy of our souls is to worship. Because as we worship, our hearts and minds are on the Lord...and better able to fight off the enemy’s tricks.
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8. Worship Can Lead Others to God
When our hearts are turned to God and we worship him even through seasons that could have us asking “Why me, God? Why this? Why now?” then others notice something different about us. They wonder how we can praise God while we’re struggling.
And when others see that our lives are often difficult, yet, we choose to worship, they want to know about the hope that lies within us. Then we get the privilege of sharing that (1 Peter 3:15).
So many times I’ve had the opportunity to share Christ with someone because they knew of my struggles and saw that I still loved God. They wondered how I could love a God that allowed my sister to be murdered? It was wonderful to be able to tell them about a peace I experienced from God, simply because I chose to trust God—even though I didn’t understand what was happening (Isaiah 26:3).
And I’m so thankful I didn’t go through one hard time alone. God was there...always there.
So if you are in a ‘Why’ season right now, I’d like to encourage you to worship God. The one who has promised to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). The one who has never broken his promises.
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9. God Is Always Worthy of Worship
When our prayers are being answered, when the test results are the ones we’ve prayed for, or when we get that job we really needed, we look up and praise God and have no problem worshipping him. But is that conditional worship? If God does what we want... then He’s worthy of praise? No. God is always good, it’s his character. And God can be nothing less than good.
God is always worthy of praise. And it’s a mature faith that will worship in the midst of severe trials. Worship is not dependent on answers. Worship is powerful simply because God is worthy of worship.
I think some of the sweetest songs God must have heard were the ones Paul sang from prison. Paul certainly knew the one he sang to was worthy of praise. And in his darkest hour, Jesus prayed in the garden. And while he did want the cup to be passed, he still submitted to his Father.
God is worthy of worship. It has nothing to do with what is going on around us. God is our sufficiency. He is everything we need.
Everything I Need
God, you are all-knowing;
you always have a plan.
There’s nothing that surprises you;
you always understand.
Please help me to remember,
and teach me to embrace,
you are everything I need,
no matter what I face
– Anne Peterson ©2020
A Prayer in Your ‘Why’ Season
Father, I want to praise you for who you are. You are Almighty God. Nothing is too difficult for you. Even the things people are facing today. Lord, help us to worship you, confident you know the answers to any questions we have. Help us to lift you up, instead of letting our circumstances bring us down. And Father, thank you that you never waste a thing. But instead, you have a purpose for everything you allow in our lives. We praise you, Lord, for who you are, and we thank you for Jesus, for it is His name we pray. Amen.
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