Helpful quote by David Powlison, Heart of the Matter, for pilgrims on the journey…
“God runs his universe in ways that are counterintuitive. There is a surprising door to joy—to face your suffering, to take hold of it instead of seeking to escape it.
To stop what you are doing and honestly say to God, “I feel all alone right now. I’m tired. I’m bored. I’m hurt. I’m worried and stressed. But I know you are with me. I know you are my true refuge. Help me!”
Worship in the Bible expresses two things to God: our pain and our pleasure. For example, some psalms suffer honestly: “O God, I am in anguish. Deliver me from my sufferings and my sins.” Other psalms delight honestly: “O my God, you are good. I thank you, worship you, and adore you.”
In 1 Peter 1, suffering is the context in which you experience “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8 nasb). In James 1, trial is the context of purpose, endurance, meaning, and joy. In Romans 5:3, we are told that “we rejoice in our suffering.”
In the midst of sorrows, anguish, misery, and pain we come to know that “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5 nasb).
Walking into suffering with eyes wide open opens the door to knowing the love of God.”
For me the temptation is often to worship God for my sake and not for His. For me the self is so deeply embedded in me that it insidiously finds ways to seep into everything, even worship, in subtle, frequently “Christiany” ways. We see this in Judas when he protested what Mary did when she poured the expensive oil on the feet of Jesus. He did not care one ounce about “the poor”, but he used it as his self-promoting to protest“this waste”. Worshipping God must “involve” me but it ought not to be “about” me. Granted we will often need to tell our Father what we are wrestling with, but I wonder if the reason for doing it is to pour it out, to get it out of the way so we can focus everything on Him. Kind of like, “There LORD, that’s wear my emotions are as I come to worship. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, help me, with all my heart, soul, mind & strength, to worship You.”