Yesterday was rough. It was one of those days where I felt overwhelmed by nothingness. I felt so empty. I felt alone, hurt and just sad. All day, I struggled. But it wasn’t what happened in that day that held significance. It wasn’t the pain that I was feeling that made yesterday so important. It was what happened that night. What started as writing sad songs, turned into singing praise. What began as brokenness turned into repeating choruses of worship. In a moment of desperation, I was reminded of a lesson about worship
There is a song by Hillsong United called “Even When It Hurts”. I love this song. It is one of the few songs that I have been able to appreciate and experience at a very personal and internal level. There is a line in the song that says “Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise You.” If you don’t like that they said “hell”, too bad. I love this line because of the contrast it shows. We’ve all been there. Everyone has had a “hurts like Hell” moment in their life. If you haven’t, get ready. Pain is real. Suffering is real. Sorrow is real. Death is real. Heartache, loneliness, despair, and sickness are all real. All of these can be “Hurts like hell” moments. This song illustrates that even in the hard times, worship is what we must do. When life “hurts like hell” it can be easy to say “I don’t feel like worshiping”. But, pain isn’t an excuse to not praise. This song, for me, serves as a reminder that no matter how bad things seem, no matter how sad I feel, even when It hurts like hell, that I need to worship.
The thing about worshiping when it “hurts like hell” is that it doesn’t mean that it stops hurting. Yeah, last night I worshiped. But I woke up this morning feeling the same sense of hopelessness. You can’t always sing the pain away. But that doesn’t change that we are to worship. Praise is the response to the goodness of God. It isn’t conditioned upon perceived blessings. Therefore, my praise must transcend what I feel. The response to pain must be praise. The reaction to sorrow must be worship. My anger and discontentment regarding my life can only be resolved in exaltation. In worship, my focus is taken off of myself and is given to God. It doesn’t change what I feel. Worship doesn’t fix the things that are upsetting. It isn’t a cure-all. It is simply the acknowledgement that God is bigger than what I’m feeling.
You can’t worship your way out of hurting, nor praise your way into blessings. What you can do is worship in spite, and because of what you are experiencing. Even when life sucks, God is good. Even when it “Hurts like hell” He is good. So when it does hurt, worship. When you’re sad, sing praises. If you’re like me, and it “hurts like hell” sometimes, know that it is ok to hurt. Pain doesn’t exclude you from the grace of God. Suffering in your life does not negate God’s mercy. Don’t let what you feel keep you from experiencing God and His goodness through obedience. Don’t let sorrow, grief or pain, keep you from worshiping. None of those kept Christ from the Cross. We cannot let them keep us from worship.