Saturday, September 16, 2006

What Am I Singing About?

One of my favorite worship songs is "Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt and Beth Redman. You know, Blessed be your name, when the sun is shining down on me, when the world is all as it should be . . . That's when it's easy to praise the Lord, when everything is as it should be or at least as I think it should be!

But then the song has to take a nasty turn to talking about the road marked with suffering and pain. Can't we just sing "Shine Jesus Shine" (you NWC alums have got to love that one!) and be happy? Actually, the authenticity of the lyrics is really what makes it great!

There is a part of that song that is taken right out of the book of Job. You give and take away, my heart will choose to say Blessed Be Your Name. When Job gets word that his children, servants and livestock have all been killed this is his reaction. "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; May the name of the Lord be praised.'" (Job 1:20-21)

I've lived a pretty happy-go-lucky Christian life so it is hard for me to imagine how I'd deal with extreme suffering. Sure, I've had some tough times but nothing like Job. I think it's awesome to read how he worshiped God. And I'm glad that God left in there that he tore his robe and shaved his head. That shows his emotions. He didn't just shrug and praise the Lord, he hurt! But amidst the hurt, he was able to worship.

So it seems to have brought to light a few things in my life. The first is my need for control! Sometimes it is the hard moments of suffering in life that God brings us to the realization that HE is in control not us.

Also, my desire to worship God is conditional a lot. I'll worship as long as he provides for all our wants and desires, as long as I can take a beach vacation every winter, as long as it's not on the same night as American Idol, and as long as I can keep having "me time" (what's that again?) and not be inconvenienced. I've got to be able to worship all the time. Even when I don't feel like it and even when I'm hurting.

And as I'm learning and thinking about this I need to let my kids be part of the process, so that they too can learn to worship with their lives no matter what is happening: if things are good, we're going to praise the Lord. If things are tough, we're still going to fall down and worship. And sometimes I've found the good times are even dangerous because it feels like I don't need God.

So, if He has given you something that seems beyond what you can handle or has taken away something (or someone) precious, can we like Job fall to the ground in worship?

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed by Your name in the land that is plentiful,
where your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name when I'm found in the desert place,
though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say,
"Blessed by the Name of the Lord, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name."

Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me,
when the world's "all as it should be" blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering,
though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.

You give and take away,
You give and take away,
My heart will choose to say,
"Lord, Blessed be your name."

by Matt and Beth Redman
c2002 Thankyou Music


When we got to gymnastics the other day, the teacher was impressed at how fast Annie could move. Grant proceeded to tell her that not only can she move, she can boogie! Everytime music comes on, she gets down. But that's not the kind of getting down that I want to talk about.

Generally, when I hear people say that God impressed something on them or told them to do something I'm pretty skeptical. But a few days ago, I was thinking about the kids while they were at school and kind of half praying and half hoping that they were doing ok. Well, I tell you what, the Spirit impressed on me to get my bible and get on my knees. And it was so strong that I grabbed my Bible that minute and hit the ground. (go ahead and be skeptical if you must!)

There was nothing really life changing about the few minutes I spent prayer, but it was an unmistakable compelling of the Spirit. I'm not sure if I have ignored those times in the past or if I have been so out of touch with Christ that I just didn't get it, but it was really exciting to be moved like that.

Maybe it was so strong because of my half-hearted attempts at worry/praying while I was doing other things. I'm not sure, but it definitely got my attention. It didn't tell me to change my life focus, move or anything that big, but it directed my heart to God which is right where I want to be. I hope that I will be aware of those times when the Spirit is compelling me to do something. Then I hope I will get down and do it!

John 14:26
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you all things and will remind you
of everything I have said to you."