How to Wield a Heart of Worship through Uncertain Times
Word came swiftly that schools were closing, people were to work from home, and stores were out of stock on many food items and, of course, toilet paper. The world went from peace to panic within minutes it seemed. Not only are we faced with a closing world, but we are faced with a now crumbling economy, job losses, and no idea when things will go back to the way they were before. Uncertainty is the road we are walking daily for the foreseeable future.
Word came swiftly that schools were closing, people were to work from home, and stores were out of stock on many food items and, of course, toilet paper. The world went from peace to panic within minutes it seemed.
We were and are resting on day by day information that seems to change with every breath we take. There is uncertainty in the air of what tomorrow will hold. Not only are we faced with a closing world, but we are faced with a now crumbling economy, job losses, and no idea when things will go back to the way they were before.
Uncertainty is the road we are walking daily for the foreseeable future.
How Should Believers Walk through Uncertainty?
I feel that I have traveled through different stages of grief over the uncertainty of this process—every feeling from denial to sadness and anger. There is so much we cannot possibly wrap our minds around that it is natural for us to grieve in some ways. Everyone's life has changed without warning.
We are coming up with new plans, routines, and habits. Our world looks like it is upside down. Yet, maybe the Lord is seeking to turn our world right-side up again. We have been stripped of our busyness and forced into a place of rest.
Our perspective and how we view what is happening around us will place our hearts in a position to worship.
When we view our circumstances through the eyes of God and His word, we can cast aside the overwhelming fear and rest in the gospel truth. In the Bible, we meet many who faced trials and great fears. We learn how they responded, and it presses us forward to respond with hope in Christ.
Paul is one of them, and he teaches us the way to have a heart of worship in uncertain times. He faced persecution on a great level, even ultimately dying for the cause of Christ. His mission was to reach the world with the gospel and to encourage believers to walk worthy of the calling.
Paul knew as he encouraged believers that life would come with its troubles. He knew that they would even face the risk of death for their faith. They would face sickness, famine, and heartache in this life. His words encouraged early believers, and they teach us as well.
Paul’s letter to believers in Philippi is one that we cling to even now. Philippians 4 gives us a lesson in turning our hearts from a place of worry to one of worship.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)
What Do Christians Have to Rejoice About?
Paul calls the people to rejoice, not just once but twice. He knew they would need to be reminded again and again. The Christian life comes with a myriad of trials, and it is filled with uncertainty, and Paul’s instruction, I believe, could be worded in this way: Rejoice in the Lord at all times, even hard times, and again even when the days are dark and feel hopeless, I repeat it again, rejoice.
We worship despite our circumstances because our situation does not change who Jesus is. We rejoice in the greater hope that this life is not all there is. We can continue to rejoice just as Paul instructed the Philippian church.
Lifting our hands in worship is not about us; it is all about Jesus Christ and the finished work of the cross.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Christ Equips Us to Fight for Joy and Praise
We cannot talk about the past few weeks and not speak to anxiety. Worry will always seek to rob us of our worship. Whether we are consumed by the constant streaming news or scrolling through the pages of social media, our panic will distract us from worship.
I am guilty of this; those first few days, I was more consumed by information than I was about trusting in God alone. I took my eyes off the truth of the Gospel and put my eyes on my circumstances instead.
We cannot wield a heart of worship if our minds and hearts are full of anxiety. We cannot express thankfulness if we do not gain control of our thoughts and not allow our fears to dictate our view of God. There can be no outflow of worship without the process of binding up our anxious thoughts and giving them to the Father.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Our mind is powerful. It has a tremendous ability to crush us underneath its weight. This is likely why Paul wrote this passage. He knew that our thoughts could be our worst enemies at times. He seeks to remind us that our anxious thoughts keep our hearts from being thankful and instructs us to look to the things that are righteous and pure, holy, and perfect, rather than the things that long to keep us bound up.
We cannot freely worship without putting our minds on these good things Paul mentions, because they epitomize the very character of God. When we fix our eyes on His character, our worries cannot hold a flame up against them. Our anxieties flee when we remind them that God is true, righteous, just, pure, and lovely. He is sovereign, and in control of all things, nothing is out of His hand or His reach.
My worry gave way to worship as I stopped dwelling on my circumstance and turned my mind to the very truth of who God is. No worry in this life compares to my Heavenly Father.
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Michelle Rabon is a wife and homeschooling mom of three who feels called to help women thrive in their walk with Jesus every day. In 2012, she started Displaying Grace, a ministry that is focused on helping women engage with God’s Word. Michelle has also served in women’s ministry for the past five years seeking to equip women in the local church through Bible study. When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, being close to the ocean, and drinking a lot of coffee.