The challenges of praise and worship when you are suffering
Since I started my spiritual journey 20 years ago ( March 9th 1996) I had decided a while back that life is a like video game. You finish one level of challenges , you’re elated that you managed to get all the points on that level only to start a new harder one. Till you actually manage to learn all the lessons from one life situation you cannot move onto the next. You think you ‘re “done” with a particular issue…. Then the Lord seems to say ” Ok there’s more to chisel off here to bring out the sculpture I have in mind.” At this point, you feel like saying ” uff Lord! No more ”
However, over the years I have learnt how these challenges and times of pruning are what have made me grow and mature emotionally, spiritually and as a woman.
For example, the area of pride and humility have always been an issue for me. Being a feminist of the 90s I came to the Lord actually believing that pride was something good to have. Now how would I have thought that??? Obviously over the years, the Lord had a loooooot of chiseling work to do in this area. And indeed He did. I was (or need I say still am) a very self sufficient person. Imagine I would refuse help to change a flat tyre from my boyfriend because I needed no help ( just because I was a woman). I have learnt a lot in this area thanks to prayer and a loving husband too.
I thought I had seen the end of this pride and self sufficiency at least for a while. Haha! With the Lord it’s never “been there, done that” He had more in store for me.
The past year has been one of the hardest in my life ever. It brought with it a lot of suffering for my family and in a way that was beyond my control, beyond my understanding, beyond my faith. I felt completely helpless and it was the first time my faith was being challenged. I was angry at God, obviously misplaced anger. My pride and self sufficiency were being crushed by life’s circumstances but as God always does : He turns things for the good of those who love Him.
The difficult decision for me which took a number of months was to turn to God in this situation. I had to ask for help to the same God who I was angry at. I had no choice because I was truly helpless. As always the Lord was faithful and true to His promises. I could do all things through Him who strengthens me . He really gave me the strength to live our family situation , not through my self sufficiency but because I learnt to depend on Him every day, feeding on his Grace daily.
How does praise and worship fit into all this?
Well, I would not have managed without! It was not always easy to go up on our stage and sing and ( hope to ) lead others to praise and open up to Jesus. However,as I have sung many times ” when my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear your voice, I hold on to what is true though I cannot see.” It was this depth of relationship built over the years on my knees heart to heart in praise and worship that kept me there and stopped me from losing all the levels of my spiritual video game. And I thank God for not giving up on me and for continuing to chisel off the unwanted parts of the sculpture. So hopefully, eventually He will reveal the real woman He has created me to be.