Skip to main content
Sam Tan• Timely Word •

How to Worship in Troubled Times

By 23 March 2013September 26th, 2017No Comments

Over the last few Sundays, we heard from Isaiah 40 and considered God’s power, wisdom, presence and authority. In my devotion, I meditated on this and I was led to worship God for Who He is. I realized something – it is easy to worship God when things are going well. But I wondered – would I worship God the same way in troubled times?

King David wrote Psalm 27 in face of threats from his enemies. In the midst of his distress, David began not with a request for help from God but with an affirmation and confidence in who God is. Even though an army was advancing towards him and threatened to overthrow his nation, he responded in confidence that they would stumble and fall (Psalm 27:2). His confidence was in His God, the LORD Almighty, who created the heavens and the earth.

Job’s personal world crumbled from within when he lost almost everything he possessed, including his sons and daughters who were so dear to him (Job 1). Though he felt grieved, troubled and overwhelmed, his first response with not of revenge nor blame, but acknowledgement that all he had came from the Lord. The Lord alone had the right to give and to take them away. He must have continued to affirm that the Lord is all-loving, gracious and all-powerful, and believed the Lord God Almighty had a better plan for him. Hence, he was able to say, “may the name of the LORD be praised!” (Job 1:21, 2:10).

This is what worship really means!Worship songs like “How Great Thou Art” and “I Worship You, Almighty God” are not worship by themselves, but an outcome of it.

In this world, we face challenges all the time. Each time we work at being a better disciple of Christ we will face resistance from our flesh, the world and/or the evil one (e.g. in overcoming habitual sins, dying to oneself and growing in the fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-25). We will face challenges as we try to better live out our family life responsibilities as a spouse, parent or child. We will face challenges to be light and salt at our workplaces as we try to be a better staff/colleague and be a good testimony through how we relate to colleagues or carry out our work (Ephesians 6:5-9, Matthew 5:13-14). We will face challenges as we use our gifts to serve the Body of Christ to strengthen it (Romans 12:3-8), or exercise loving one another with the love of Christ (Romans 12:9-21).

Facing these challenges, typically we would pray for the Lord’s help. In my devotion, the Lord showed me not to merely call for help. If I have been living according to His call and walking in accordance to His ways, I must respond to challenges by boldly and courageously believing God for who He is; then ask for help.

Singing about God’s greatness without trusting Him to see us through life’s challenges is detaching His greatness and power from His involvement in my personal life. The next time before singing songs of worship, I am going to think through the challenges I might face at that time and tell myself they are infinitely nothing compared to the greatness and power of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. In my heart I am going to trust, rely and expectantly hope in Him (Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 27:13-14, Psalm 33:18-21). And then I can sing “How Great Thou Art” and “I Worship You, Almighty God”.

By Sam Tan, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 23&24 March 2013)