Choose Worship - Psalm 13

My late teens/early twenties was a rough period for me. My dad was battling cancer. My parent’s marriage was coming to an end. I struggled big time with loneliness and I was often pretty angry. During that season, I repeatedly took long drives involving shouting matches with God. It amuses me to look back and wonder about what my fellow motorists thought as they saw me yelling and banging on the steering wheel while I cruised down I-295.

My relationship with God at that time was raw, but I also look back on it as a high point in our relationship as well. Why? Being brutally honest and vulnerable before God led to an unexpected intimacy. This wasn’t my plan. I was just overwhelmed and didn’t know where else to turn. I didn’t even think what I was doing was okay. You can’t shout at God, right?

Sometime later, I discovered psalms like Psalm 13 that mirrored a lot of my own relationship with God at that time. David declares:

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all day?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.”

This Psalm is just one example of many like it. The psalmists regularly gave full vent to their feelings before God. And guess what: God didn’t smite them. God can handle it. Love and compassion are his dominant qualities and he’s very, very slow to get angry with us. Sometimes, it took him a couple hundred years to get angry with Israel and that was because they weren’t coming to him. If you are going to God in all honesty (good, bad and ugly), it’s safe to say that you’re in good hands.

David ends Psalm 13 by saying,

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

This feels like a complete turnaround. He goes from questioning God to worshipping him. David knew with intention what I only discovered by accident. Worship is a choice. Skye Jethani says it this way, “the psalmist chooses to sing the truth that his heart does not yet feel.” Our relationship with God involves a great deal of choice. Circumstances are usually outside of our control, but where we turn is entirely up to us. Will you choose to trust God with your emotions, your longing, and your fears? Will you choose to trust that the truth about God is still true even when you don’t feel it? Will you choose to worship?

The pattern of this Psalm is simple and a good prayer template for difficult times. First, tell God how you really feel. Next, reflect on the truth of who he is. Finish with worshipping him for that truth. This biblical prayer model found throughout the Psalms is a key pathway toward a more intimate, trusting and worship-filled relationship with God.

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Leadership for Development

Throughout the pandemic, LFD has experienced God’s grace and protection. LFD field ministry and projects are continuing to move forward. The LFD team expects to see significant changes in the post pandemic world. Please pray for wisdom and a Spirit-lead strategy to meet the possible post pandemic challenges ahead. LFD is encouraged by the prayers and support of our partners in the past year of uncertainty. Pray that LFD’s advancement team can promote LFD’s ministry in churches and special conferences throughout China. In addition, to the six trainees on the field who are going to receive Phase I Cross-cultural Training, please also remember in your prayers the other group of Phase 1 candidates who are under travel restrictions. They have been waiting for more than one year to receive this training. May God grant them patience and give them the opportunity to get on-field training in the latter half of 2021.
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