Friday, August 29, 2008

I Need To Praise God

God came through for my friends, and I'm so grateful. Even though I was angry with Him over their plight--even vented a little bit, questioning His care for them--I now must give Him credit for taking a seemingly hopeless situation and turning it into life. He does that all the time, doesn't He? If there's anything we Christ-believers must cling to with the very passion of our lives it is this: the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ turns loss into gain, sorrow into joy, despair into hope, death into life. Thanks be to God for the life we have in the Crucified One.

There are scars, to be sure. My friends still have a long way to go. But, to see them smiling in light of some recent good news sure did my heart good.

I'm looking forward to Sunday so I can tell God what I really think about Him. Come to think of it, that's why I go. I have this compulsion, this need to worship God. And, I need to hear others do the same.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Complaining is an act of worship

Lately, I've been thinking about how much we try to impress God with our worship. We want to say the right things. We want to do the right things. And, rightfully so. When we read Leviticus, it becomes pretty obvious that God takes our service of worship very seriously. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, God seems rather obsessive about it: bring coals from the wrong fire and He'll kill you.

This is why the Psalms are so refreshing to me. I love the way the penitent will often rake God over the coals for not coming through, not making good on promises, not helping in times of need. These laments sound brash and daringly provocative to my ears that are used to hearing American versions of worship songs, inspiring us to whisper "sweet nothings" into God's ears. I sing about sacrifice. I sing that God is "my everything." But, I'm not sure I mean it.

But, I must tell you. I could really get into songs that would inspire me to be honest to God, especially when I'm considering the suffering of others who are far more faithful than I. Lyrics like, "God, why have you forsaken us?" Or, "How long, O Lord? When will you remember the promises You made to my friends who have been faithful to You?" Or, "Why do you keep a safe distance in our times of trouble?" Those who know the Psalms will recognize these verses. They inspire me. I love the fact that our God is so big He inspired His people to complain to Him when times were hard--even in songs meant for worship. Why would he allow such a thing? Because He knows He's our only hope.

Oh God, please help my friends today. You know who they are. I'm angry that they're going through another impossibly difficult time. Why would you let this happen? Please, be their God. Please take care of them. We have no where left to turn.