Not everything we feel is a true reflection of reality. I love my husband, but if I’ve had a bad day and feel anger towards him, it doesn’t mean I don’t love him any longer. My anger is very real in that moment and there might be real cause for my anger, but it’s a temporary feeling and it doesn’t change the truth of my love for him or his love for me.
In a similar way, everything I feel about my circumstances and trials doesn’t determine whether or not God is good or worthy of my praise. I can decide He isn’t good, I can say he isn’t good, it can sometimes feel like he isn’t good, but it doesn’t change the fact that He is good and he is always worthy of my praise.
The book of Psalms is full of emotion and feelings. About 65 of them are described as laments (cries, expressions of grief). King David writes in the middle of pain and fear for his life ‘I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good’ (Psalm 54:6). There are other examples in Scripture too – Jonah cries out in misery from the belly of the whale ‘But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you’ (Jonah 2:9). What I love about David though, is that he doesn’t ignore his feelings or bury them in the ground; he acknowledges them, but he doesn’t become a slave to them either. David’s problems were terrifying and real but he chooses to express his pain, sorrow and struggles to God rather than letting them dictate his life. Many of the Psalms he wrote ended by focussing on the truth of who God is instead of how he is feeling. Our feelings change but God’s character remains the same.
There’s something incredibly powerful in declaring, shouting and singing that God is good and worthy of praise even when our circumstances and feelings are challenging the nature of God’s goodness and love. Worshipping through trials is powerful because:
- It encourages your soul. When you worship you’re calling to mind the promises of God and his unchanging nature. You’re choosing to focus your heart, mind and soul on Him above your pain. 1 Samuel 30 describes how David fears for his life, but after hearing a group of people plotting to stone him he responds by ‘encouraging himself in the Lord’ (v6). Speaking out who God is, his nature, his faithfulness will give us the boldness to persevere under trial.
- It’s prophetic. Worship reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus and can help us express our trust in God. The psalmist writes ‘I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living’ (Psalm 27:13). We can declare over our lives and the lives of others that we will know the goodness of God, because that’s who He says He is.
- The enemy flees. The enemy hates our worship of God. From the beginning Satan has been trying to get humanity to doubt God and place their worship and trust somewhere else, but we can refuse to allow fear and pain to steal away our worship of God. Every thought about God that is against who he’s revealed himself to be is a lie but we can take every doubt, fear and lie ‘captive and make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Cor 10:5). We can submit our feelings and thoughts to who we know God really is.
Let’s be encouraged to praise Him through our trials and sufferings; when we feel close to God or we feel a million miles away. It’s not always easy, but He will always be worth it.
Written by Beth Howard