I watched a woman in the row in front of me several Sundays ago. She lifted her head and joined her voice in song with the other worshipers. Not so unusual? Her daughter had miscarried the woman's first grandchild earlier in the week. Tears streamed down her face as she worshiped.
Across the aisle, a couple linked arms as they worshiped. The words were raspy, but the pushed through the pain of having an imprisoned son in order to give God glory.
Behind me, I heard a familiar voice. An older man attending church alone for the first time in fifty years. His wife lay three blocks away in the cardiac unit at the hospital. He'd been by her side since the latest heart attack. The nurses insisted he take a break while his wife rested. He chose to take his break at church.
Later that week, I logged onto a social network and noted a writer friend of mine encouraging another writer about a recent success. Others may not have known that my friend had experienced a career-threatening disappointment that same day.
Hebrews 13:15, Common English Bible--"So let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise."
Praising when it feels like a sacrifice adds an impressive depth of grace. Worship from a broken heart is exquisite in its beauty.
Disappointment in the arenas we care about most can force worship to the bottom of our list of go-to reactions. But worship then becomes a true gift to the Lord, as much a gift as a hungry family's blemish-free firstborn animal brought to the altar as a sacrifice to God.
Life's disappointments don't change who God is or what He deserves from us. Career reversals don't alter who He is. He rides publishing world shifts without tensing. Even the heart-wrenching is incapable of diminishing His power or person.
Worship may seem a challenge when life is hard. God's Word tells us He looks on it as a gift from us to Him--a sacrifice of praise.
If you're offering a continual stream of sacrificial praise, please know your determination to worship through pain registers in the throne room of heaven as an exquisite gift.
Question for you: When has worship cost you the most?
Cynthia Ruchti is a speaker and author of novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction including two recent releases--the novel When the Morning Glory Blooms, and the nonfiction Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices, both from Abingdon Press. You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage.