Monday, October 14, 2013

Journey to Trust - The Sacrifice of Praise - Day 14

Can I make a little confession here? There was a time when I didn't understand the true meaning of worship.

The first time I attended a charismatic church service I looked at the raised faces and uplifted hands and wondered. Wondered, in my own little "judgementy," critical sort of way, if the hearts of those people were so perfectly right with God they felt comfortable doing that. It was that old "works" mentality rearing its ugly head again. I somehow thought I couldn't worship unless everything was perfectly right between me and God. And heaven knew, I was far from perfect.

Slowly I came to realize worship has nothing to do with my worth and everything to do with His. I come to Him, dressed in dirty rags with nothing to offer but faith. He reaches down and wraps me in a robe of righteousness - the one purchased with the blood of His own Son. My heart bows low in worship, and I begin to praise. Not because it is something God needs to hear to somehow feed His ego (I confess, I wondered about praise too.), but because it reminds me of who He is. And in the process I am changed.

In the middle of the deep valley, I began to walk a path of praise. I said He was good, merciful, faithful and compassionate. I said He loved me with a forever love, and He always kept His promises. In the face of unanswered prayer and deep disappointment, I said He was a God of miracles - all-powerful, all-knowing, wise beyond my wildest imagination.

I said the words, but they didn't touch my heart. Day after day, I prayed from the Psalms using the spirit-filled words of others who had known suffering and praised God anyway. Day after day, I went through the motions.

Nothing changed, and then everything changed.