For those of you who may not know me very well, I love praise and worship music. I've always got my car radio on a Christian station, preferably satellite, which plays non-stop music. Many days at work, I listen to praise and worship music. When I write, I will often have music playing in the background.
Worship music does for me what water does for a thirsty person. It quenches my thirst. It will relieve my parched soul. It gives me strength, takes my mind off of me and my problems and focuses it back where it should be – on the Almighty God.
The Bible commands that we praise God. Psalm 100:1-2 "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." It doesn't say we have to be a soloist, an opera singer, a star recording artist. It says "Make a joyful noise…" If you still are hesitant to sing in church, perhaps you can relate to this translation of Psalm 100:1-2 from Eugene Peterson's "The Message:" "On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence." (Emphasis mine)
But worship is far more than just praise and worship songs, far more than singing or playing a musical instrument. We were created to worship God and not just through song. Everything we do should be an act of worship to Him. And the more honest and open and vulnerable we are, the more authentic our worship. This is what Amy Grant is saying in her latest song: "Better than a Hallelujah."
I heard this song just the other day for the first time. I had to listen closely because at first, I thought the lyrics composer really missed the mark. "God loves a mother's tears…. a drunkard's cries??" You're kidding, right? "He loves the "tears of shame, and the silence when the words won't come?" He thinks these things are"better than a Hallelujah?" I didn't get it—until she got to the chorus:
"We pour out our miseries,
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are,
The honest cries of breaking hearts,
Are better than a Hallelujah."
So God wants us to be honest and open with Him. But doesn't He already know what we're going through, how we feel? Of course He does. He wants us to be honest with Him because it benefits us. As we openly share our feelings with Him, we realize there is no retaliation from God. No name calling, no being treated as if we are the lowly tadpoles in the bottom of the pond. As we come to understand that God will not reject us because we are a mess, we learn that we are accepted and loved unconditionally.
So the next time you think your life is a mess, remember that God would rather you come to Him openly and honestly. Be Bold! Approach Him just as you are. He will extend His arms and welcome you!
© Edwina E. Cowgill June, 2010