Life can be overwhelming, even for a pastor. Our congregation is facing many challenges right now internally. Several families in our church are facing serious physical health issues. In fact, we have never had this many people in the hospital having surgery and at home with long recoveries. There are many marriages that are struggling if not failing, it is the rare week that I DON'T get a call that someone is calling the lawyers, cheating, or are just done with their relationship. And then there are the host of other areas like financial burdens that are crippling families and adding to the normal familial strife that exists in any family, eroding peace in the home. And then there is our call to be on mission that cannot be forgotten, even as we face many trials that force us to turn our attention inward. As a pastor my heart is greatly burdened by all of this as I desire to shepherd and guide our people through these difficult times. Suffice it to say, I can feel smothered at times.
It was in such a moment driving down the road, praying for these families, praying that God would move and perhaps do the miraculous, that I felt a strange desire to stop praying. I turned some worship music on and decided to just kind of zone out for the rest of the drive home. As I listened I found myself begin to sing along with the song "No Limits" from Fellowship Church's Everlasting album. It is a song that proclaims the greatness of God with boldness and enthusiasm. As I sang I felt those burdens that I cannot begin to bear being lifted. Worship has the power to transcend our intellect, our emotions, and the perceived reality that we face. It reminds us that God IS bigger than the situations, stressors, and struggles in our lives that tend to bring us down.
Worship reminds us:
That while we have limitations, God is boundless.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
-Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
Worship reminds us that while we feel distant and disconnected God desires for us to find rest and peace in Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Worship reminds us that while we cannot see the end result, God not only has a plan, he has the redemption of all things in mind.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
-Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Worship reminds us that while we are overwhelmed with many issues in life, God is in control.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
-Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
Worship reminds us that even when we feel unworthy, unloved, and alone God is with us, is for us, and loves us beyond measure.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!
Romans 5:8 (GNT)
If you are feeling stressed out today, feeling overwhelmed, and at your wits end; of course take time to pray. Of course take time to fellowship with other believers. But also take time to worship the Lord. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. So go ahead, play your favorite worship tunes and crank it up! Raise your voice to him, make a joyful noise! And experience the presence of God in the middle of your trial. You'll find His peace that surpasses understanding often lies in the heart of worship.
Grace and Peace to you!