Honouring the Sabbath by taking a day off is not my best suite. That's because doing nothing gives me terrible migraine. That being said it's almost a given to me that every Monday (my day off), I'll probably get a migraine.
One Monday afternoon was very particular for me. My head started throbbing with pain sometime before lunch, and I was left alone at home while my wife had to work that day. Completely debilitated and clasping my temple like it was going to explode, I felt God urging me to worship.
In my head I started thinking, "Lord, take away my migraine first and I'll worship you."
Then God broke my faulty mindset once more by asking me, "Will you only worship me when it's convenient for you?"
The next thing I know, I'm on my knees with hands lifted high and head spinning due to the pain.
How often do we find ourselves telling God the same thing? "Lord, I'll start worshipping again when the sickness and pain is gone."
"Lord, I'll worship you with my tithe when my debt is cleared."
"Lord, I'll worship you when this person finally apologises to me, and then I can forgive him."
James 5:13 makes it crystal clear for us: "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise."
God calls us to worship not just in good times but even in the bad. In fact, when we are down and out, when we are suffering or when we are struggling to see God move once and for all, that's exactly the time we should run back to God.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Jesus invites not the exuberant, not the celebrating, not the successful (although even in our success we are still to approach God) but the wear and heavy laden. We can approach God in worship and praise in the midst of the suffering. Actually, we must approach God in worship and praise in the midst of the suffering.
One of my mother's favourite songs while she was waging a battle with cancer was the song "Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns. One part of the song goes this way:
"And I'll praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands
For You are who You are no matter where I am
And every tear I've cried, You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm..."
My hope and prayer is that we learn to worship God more passionately in the midst of our suffering. Not just when it's convenient.