Worship and Suffering: Praising God from the Ashes

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In scripture, suffering and worship go hand in hand. The greatest book on suffering ever written, the book of Job makes this connection at the very beginning when everything begins falling apart in Job’s life,

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (1:20-22)

Worship and mourning are not mutually exclusive. If we misunderstand worship to be praise conditioned upon positive circumstance then we misunderstand the very nature of worship and the very nature of God. Worship is unconditional in that we offer it to God no matter what, in all circumstances. At the same time the thing that happen in our lives have everything to do with the content of our worship. We praise God out of the reality of what is going on in our lives. The scriptures never sugar coat worship as if God is co-dependent to our “everything is fine” addiction. No. Worship in the Bible is in tune with reality because worship and suffering and not mutually exclusive. Even these words of Job are offset in the text, assuming that they are a song. Job is singing.

If there is still any doubt about this please take a moment to read the Psalms. It won’t take you long to realize that those songs frequently call out to God from troubled circumstances. This worship is a worship that recognizes God’s worth and worthiness from difficult circumstances and then calls on God’s covenant faithfulness to make things right again.

If you are suffering and down maybe it is time to try worship. It is good for the soul.

“The lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised.”

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