Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Power of Worship

Worship changes things.

The posture of a soul. The climate of a household. The complaints of the body. There's all kinds of healing to be found in turning from ourselves and the concerns of the moment to behold the beauty of God.

I used to have episodes. Spells, I called them. In the evenings, when I was tired, drained, and weary of discomfort, I'd still have to cook. Cooking seemed a monumental task in those moments. Impossible. Living felt impossible.

Arthritis made it difficult to peel vegetables. Phantom stakes drove into the fibromyalgia points in my neck and shoulders. Heat radiated from my skin, tender to the touch. A tension headache would form, unable to be helped by medication or essential oils. I was too sensitive. Still am. And the worst part was the dark cloud which hung over my head, weighing me down.

Either the pain isn't as bad now or I'm used to it. Maybe both. The cloud still visits me sometimes. 

But God (a lovely pair of words, don't you think?) is faithful. He speaks into the cloud. Through the storm of pain and discouragement, I feel Him. Nudging me, reminding me. I'm here. Reach for me.

I always begin with prayer. I ask for help with plain words, sometimes gasped, depending on the level of discomfort. But help doesn't always immediately come.

I move on to gratitude. I reflect on God's kindnesses. They're always there, even in the midst of the ashes. Eventually, with eyes to see and practice, you don't have to look very hard.

A couple of years ago, I thanked God for the strength to stand at the kitchen counter. Back then, I didn't take that strength for granted. Then, maybe I thanked Him for the squash in my hands, which would bring nourishment to me and my family. The infant clinging to my ankles. The little boy bouncing off the furniture. The husband on his way home from work. The messy house.

Gratitude penetrates the cloud, but it doesn't always chase it away.

So then I preach to my soul. Words hidden in my heart find their way to my tongue, sounding from my pulpit at the kitchen sink.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance." (Psalm 42:5)
"...If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32)
 Be bold. Be strong. The Lord your God is with you.
The cloud begins to lift.

But worship is the ace in the hole. It not only dissipates the cloud; it often relieves my physical discomfort. Or at least makes it less important.

Saturday night, I had a bad case of the ickies. You know what I'm talking about. I was all out of sorts, self-conscious about stupid things, and grumpy about having to figure out what to do with the pound of bison I'd thawed. My family was in a funk, too, and not the fun kind.

I remembered my ace, and decided to make it my first play.

Everyone was watching TV, so I grabbed my iPod, stuffed in my earbuds, and turned up a favorite worship album. I sang softly as I cooked and folded laundry, and you know what? I wasn't the only one helped. The atmosphere of our home shifted.

I've learned to expect that. Which is why worship has become my go to remedy for maladies of all kinds.

One night last week, Sara threw a major hissy fit right before bedtime. Girl's got a temper.

  I know you wouldn't believe it looking at this precious face.
But yeah...

I'm a firm believer in not going to bed angry, so I asked God how to help her. Silent prayers in the rocking chair weren't doing the trick, and she was too hysterical to pray herself. I sang a few of her favorite hymns. It helped, but she continued to thrash and cry, inconsolable.

I asked her to sing with me. We sang her current favorite, "At the Name of Jesus." Then she calmed enough to look up at me and say, "I wanna sing 'Jesus on da Cross.'"

I combed my fingers through her downy curls. "I don't know that one, Love. Will you teach it to me?"

Sara sang the following words to a simple melody which made the former music teacher in me proud. She made me repeat the phrases, which helped me to remember the lyrics long enough to copy them down in my journal:

Jesus on da cross...
His name is glorious...
He won da victory for us...
He died on da cross...
So He could save us...

Not a bad little song. And in the process of singing it, her anger evaporated. I tucked her into bed peaceful and content.

Now I wonder how many of my own passions I can reprocess into worship. Fan of experiments that I am, I'll be trying it out in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, what about you? Have you experienced the healing power of worship? Post your story in the comments below so we can all marvel at the healing weapon God has given us.

"Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God,
'How awesome are Your works!..."
(Psalm 66:1-3)

1 comment:

Melissa Rogers said...

Worship does change everything. Sometimes I would sing "My Lord You are enough! You're all I need. You are more than enough. You are enough!". And no matter how much darkness, weakness, pain, confusion, or tears He was always enough for me. He is! I would remind myself "now is the time for worship" and now is always. Psalm 16:11 is so special " your presence there is fullness of joy..." I take that literally, I really believe it. I realized years ago I came to a crossroads sort of moment where I really had to live out what I said I believed. There isn't anything that can separate me from the love of God, NOTHING. NOTHING! I am still so weak in many ways, but I am healed in amazing ways too. Only Jesus can do that. I am so encouraged by your walk with The Lord Melissa and I thank the Lord for how you have been an answer to my prayers so many times. Praying for you dear friend. By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone we live, and our lives are His. Praise God for your worship!