This feels foreign. Writing about worship. Only because the last time I put out a #WorshipWednesday post was 1 year, 1 month and two days ago. Funny enough, I’m wearing today the exact same thing I wore the last time I put out this kind of post.
Earlier, I’m not sure how it happened but I found myself looking for the IG/blog of a young lady whose profile I used to follow. I’d known that she deleted her IG a while ago so there was the possibility of not finding it. I went on to find her husband’s profile and noticed that something was off. So, I moved my search to YouTube and mid-search I stumbled on a sermon where he was talking about Real Friends (he’s a youth pastor), using Paul & Silas’ arrest as the scripture from which he drew. However, something completely different stuck out to me, and it’s in relation to worship.
This particular part of the story starts when Paul casts a fortune telling spirit out of a young slave girl who had been following them around for several days shouting “these men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” Maybe we can dive into why Paul got annoyed by this some other time. In casting the spirit out, Paul shatters this slave girl’s master’s hopes of wealth, and in turn a young mob forms in the city against Paul and Silas. My realization started here.
22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. 25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.Acts 16 vs 22 – 25
The disciples are thrown in jail but not before they are stripped of their possessions and quite possibly their clothing. Their covering. As if it wasn’t enough that they were severely beaten, they were also publicly humiliated by being beaten naked in front of people. After all of that is when they were thrown into jail. However, instead of crying out to God with questions, or in pain, or complaining about what they’d just gone through, they worshiped.
They poured worship out from the depths of their hearts, that it got the attention of the other prisoners. I imagine that they prayed and sang up a storm in that dungeon, aware of the physical pain they were in but pushing, pressing on beyond it.
If He stripped you of everything you thought you needed, would you still worship Him?
If, after following God’s orders to a T, you still ended up in a place that looked nothing like the blessing you thought was coming, would you still worship Him? If you were being persecuted for living right, living according to God’s word, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and almost everyone around you turned their backs on you, would you still worship Him? If you found yourself in an undesired season of life, without the comfort of a steady income stream, or a supportive circle, would you still worship Him? What if you were to lose someone who is nearest and dearest to your heart, would you still worship Him? If God had you wait on Him for longer than you’d anticipated, would you still worship Him? If the funding you were hoping for never came, would you still worship Him?
Honestly, it’s very easy to quickly answer Yes to all of these questions. But, would you, really?
Is taking things to God in prayer your reflex, or your last resort? When faced with challenges on a day to day, is the first thing that comes out of your mouth a complaint or words of faith? When thinking on the main question today, I realised that for many of us our day to day doesn’t include acknowledging God’s presence in and through everything. The eyes of our hearts are so fixated on everything else around us that if we were to be stripped of them, we wouldn’t see that God is still right by our side through it all.
If we haven’t learnt to recognise His voice in the stillness (when things are going well in our lives), it’ll be difficult to be still when the storms and seas of life rage and take with them all we’d carried in our boats to help us get through the journey. Fear will easily take over, and make us forget that the one who holds the power to calm the storm is right there, in your boat. With you. Resting.
Yes, it’s not the easiest thing to do. However, hands holding on to nothing are in the best condition to offer up every ounce of worship as a sacrifice unto God.
If we can learn to worship with nothing, we can learn to worship in everything.
Grace & Peace to you & yours
– Xo, Jo 🌺