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When worship is hard

I went to worship last night as a worshiper. While that may sound like a statement worthy of Captain Obvious, it was a bit unique for me. Typically I go to worship as pastor, a leader of worship. Last night, at a youth event called UNIFY, I was in the crowd simply attending worship and enjoying watching my son lead.

Worship last night was hard, as I am struggling with the betrayal of a friend. I am hurt, angry, and even broken. I was in no mood to sing praise. Aware that what I most needed was to re-connect with God, the last place I wanted to be was in worship.

During the songs, I just wanted to be alone. During the prayer time, I fought the urge to leave. During the testimony, my mind wandered. My focus was on ways I could work on my situation. It was not in the room.

My eyes were opened last night to how some people must come to church on a Sunday morning. I see them from the platform from time to time. The last ones into the service, and the first ones to leave. The ones who sit in the back and go to get coffee during the “greeting time.” The ones who refuse to sing and have a distant gaze during my message. It can be easy from the front of the sanctuary to get a little judgmental about those who refuse to connect. Last night I was one of them.

Not only were my eyes opened last night, but I began to feel my heart start to heal. I sensed God’s presence in my brokenness. I felt my problems beginning to assume their proper size. I even felt a slight renewal of my faith journey and my call. All while I was trying so hard to disconnect from the worship.

I am constantly amazed by the healing power of God when we are simply willing to put ourselves in the right place and just try, even half-heartedly. May I remember each and every Sunday that there may be someone in the room who is having trouble worshiping today, and may our worship simply offer the presence of God.

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