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Suffering and worship: Addendum

Another thought that was in my head this morning, but momentarily escaped:

One of the reasons we don't fully understand the relationship between worship and suffering is that we imagine worshipping in spite of suffering. That's not Job's way, or Jesus'. We must instead learn to worship in our suffering. And while this seems very challenging, I really think one of the biggest obstacles to worshipping Him this way is the former screwed-up notion. Once that's dismissed, we're free to cry, "Abba, Father."


To think that God doesn't desire our worship at all times is ludicrous.

I want to worship him in my suffering. For my suffering. "in spite of" implies that we're somehow gracing him with our time and attention instead of admitting that we are merely the recipients of his great grace and favor each time he allows us to approach him.
But isn't it worth something to say that even though we might be going through some terrible things, still I will worship you? That "in spite" of everything I am enduring, I will not cease in my praise.

Which is hard to do, especially for me, because when I am going through rough waters sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is worshipping Him.

Maybe I am not seeing this in the same context as you....? Maybe what I need is a clearer understanding of just what worship is. I believe it's not just the raising of hands and singing songs of praise, but I have a hard time pinning it down.

Maybe I'm not supposed to pin it down.

Maybe right now what I could use is a nap. LOL!!

I think it's definitely worth something. I'm going through something difficult right now, and I *do* want to worship Him in spite of it. In the face of it. But I think I've gotten to this place, where it's not enough to approach it this way. It feels to me like I'm saying, "Even though you allowed this to happen, I'm still going to worship you", implying - to me - that even though God may have done this bad thing, I'm still okay with Him.

I realize this is NOT what people are saying. I would never say that worshiping God "in spite of" anything is bad. Not at all! It's not faithless, or weak, or immature. Please don't hear me saying that. It's just that I want MORE. I want to say to God that I will worship Him because of it. I will worship Him because He is just and perfect and so, so good. And sometimes this life sucks? But God. How can you describe God? I can't describe a God who loves me so much, that He lets me speak to Him. That He trusts me to endure. That He holds my face and wipes my tears and carries me.

I know I'm going on and on. Forgive me!

It's just a slight shift of focus, to me. To go from saying, "I worship you, even though this is happening", to saying, "I worship you right in the middle of this. Because of this".

I am sure we agree, and are just saying slightly different things.

And now, I will stop blabbing endlessly. :D
Thanks for explaining this to me...it makes much more sense now.

I think that it's something we have to learn....how to truly be in love with God when everything in you seems to be telling you that you should "curse God and die", to quote Job's wife.

It's not something you can force yourself to do - it's either there or it's not. But I suspect that God is very patient with those of us who are still getting there.

And you can blabber to me all you want. ;-) I love conversation, especially about this kind of stuff.
This is beautiful.

Along these lines, part of what I'm questioning and processing is whether our current traditional definition of "worship" is too limited. I'll try to explain, building on something quaero_verum said:
...when I am going through rough waters sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is worshipping Him.
I see two possibilities here:
  1. Sometimes I don't feel like worshipping when I'm suffering.
  2. Sometimes I don't feel like doing whatever it is we call worship when I'm suffering.
Certainly, sometimes it's option 1. But I think option 2 is worth considering, too. Since we know Job was suffering and worshipped, we can conclude that one of two things is true:
  1. Job sucked it up and worshipped anyway, because it was the right thing to do.
  2. Whatever Job called "worship" was 100% compatible with the life of a human being experiencing great suffering in a broken world who nevertheless believes in a sovereign and good God.
Again, I believe option 2 is worth exploring. Looking at Biblical examples of worship, we may need to adjust our view of what it is and isn't (rather than adjusting our view of Scripture based on our contemporary understandings of worship). Let's face it—we need God in the mess, we need God to be God in the mess, and we're missing the boat if our understanding of worship is so limited that we don't cry out to him from there. Worship is recognizing who God is when we don't have everything reconciled.
The second option reminds me of when Jacob had finished blessing his children, the Bible says he leaned on his staff and worshiped. It doesn't say he burst out in song, or did a little dance, or clapped his hands. So, it seems to me that worship is more than that.
I really believe it's #2. (haha). I have been thinking about this for a while now. In regards to prayer, as well.
Can you expand on this thought a bit?

I'm having trouble discerning between the two concepts.

I'm a bit thick today. ;-)
jeney's comment above may help.

Basically, many of us seem to see worship and suffering as separate and mutually exclusive, usually including the idea of "joy" in worship and seeing this as incompatible with suffering—so if we worship, we must worship "in spite of" suffering, not within it.

The Bible does not make this distinction. In fact, the opposite occurs, over and over again—psalmists, Job, and Jesus all worship within the context of suffering, not as some kind of escape from it.
Soooo....and correct me if I am still off-base here...

Do you mean to say that we should try to see our suffering as a form of worship? IOW, we suffer for the sake of Christ, which in and of itself is a form of worship, as long as we keep our eyes on Him and faith in our heart.

I'm still working it all out, too; see above for my next thoughts. Also, a lot of this is coming out of thoughts from last Sunday's sermon at my church; you can give a listen here if you like.
Can you hash that out for me a little? I'm daft.
See jeney's comment above, as well as my comment to quaero_verum above (she asked the same thing you did).

I'm really glad I read this.
I'm so glad. Sometimes I'm still surprised when people read and actually get something out of my LJ. Thank you.