“Why do you worship? What’s the point?” someone recently asked me.
Before my fall from grace, I could not answer that question. I loved singing the songs, lifting my hands in the air, and proclaiming that Jesus was Lord. His presence was real around me and brought the fuzziest of warm feelings. As well, I adored how worship drew me into Him. Dancing before Him with no abandon was acceptable, and I loved to participate. Worship was magical, to say the least. However, one key element was missing–my “why?” I was merely going through the motions of worship void of reason.
In between everlasting and everlasting is a chasm I call life.
In the beginning was God. Similarly, in the end, will be God. The in-between space? That’s my life, my valley, where I landed when I fell from grace. It is the trail through to the other side that I must travel on my journey from here (now) to there (everlasting). I’ve set up camp, but not made my home; I’m only passing by.
Before my fall, I never imagined life becoming hard. I look back now and think how comfortable life truly was. Never, in a million years, did I imagine life taking a left turn straight into painful. Nor, did I believe I would live life in the valley just waiting.
“Just waiting? Waiting for what?” you ask me. Waiting on God to move. I’m waiting on patience, deliverance, and healing. I’m waiting on the unseen to materialize, the Heavens to open so a heart will change, and time to fly so I may see the other side post haste–this list of waiting is endless for certain, I could ramble for several paragraphs. I’ll spare you, but tell me, for what are you waiting?
The waiting or the exit
Previously, I made my own way. If life grew slow and I was forced to hold on, I took matters into my hands and kept moving. I wasted no time by staying still. Consequently, I walked into the depths of my valley willingly. I assure you the weight of the world did not dump itself uninvited into my camp. Trying to weasel my way out of one complicated situation, I failed to stay the course and took the path marked “life is easy when you do it your way.” However, this valley, I will not leave without a fight. That which does not kill me refines my imperfections. I will call upon the Lord for He alone is worthy to be praised!
Every valley has a way out (yours included); exit stage left into the world of blessingless easy. It’s there for the taking just like it was for my Savior in His darkest hour. He had the power to remove Himself from the cross. Shamefully, I admit that my exit is staged; every detail in place should I decide to quit (again) and not wait upon the Lord. He hung tight to that cross and gave the gift of salvation to humanity. I sit still to wait on Him, and I will see Him face to face.
The Lord does not dwell in “chart your own course.”
When the valley is hard
In my valley, in my darkest times, I cry out, “who will rescue me from this body of death?”
The Lord answered me and said, “I am He!”
In the terror of the night deep in my valley, I cry out, “who will deliver me from this hell?”
The Lord answered me and said, “I am He!”
Sinking into the quicksand of the valley floor, valley I cry out, “who will set my feet upon the rock?”
The Lord answered me and said, “I AM HE!”
The winter winds blow through the valley briskly, never ceasing. The uncomfortable air chills even the warmest of summer’s day. However, it is here God has said “stay” and so I wait.
There is a blessing at the end of waiting.
There is a blessing at the end of obedience.
There is a blessing worth all the hell at the end of the valley.
If the blessing is in the valley, the heart of the valley is where I wait. I will not miss out again. I will wait.
Refined by waiting
There’s something pure about being stripped clean in the midst of waiting. The longer I hold on, the purer I become. Refined by waiting? Maybe. Refined by worshiping Him from the valley of hell on earth? Yes!
And that is the key, my golden ticket to survival and my why. I’ve seen the alternative. I’ve known a life apart from God. I’ve been to hell, and the Lord God Almighty loved me enough to rescue sheep number ninety-nine time and time again. So, I worship in the wait. I worship in the valley. I worship by the campfire in the dark of night because I don’t wait alone. His rod and His staff comfort me. The tools of His trade, to keep me from harm, are by my side at His ready should my life be threatened or should I dare to stray.
I worship from the realization that the Creator and Lord of absolutely everything saved me from eternal damnation. I have a reason to sit and wait and worship Him.
With my eyes focused on upon He, for whom I wait, and my mindset upon everlasting, I lift my voice in praise. His promise is Truth, and His timing is perfect.
“And the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel
The wait will drive you insane if you let it and time can kill the greatest faith. Silence is the voice of the enemy, the only way to win is praise. The Lord inhabits the praise of His people, and He alone is victory.
Do you realize?
I think we all go through valleys; I don’t think I’m alone in this. I believe we all wait on the Lord to move. It’s not the wait that matters; it’s what you do while you wait. Do you grumble and complain while you sit and wallow like little piggies in the muck of the wait? Do you search for the quickest way to action? Do you lift your praise just going through the motions because it is the right thing to do? Or do you stand and praise Him, empty hands held high expecting Him to fill you to overflowing in the land of the dry? Do you praise Him because on the other side is hell and He fights to keep you out? Do you worship because you are sheep number ninety-nine?
The longer you wait to praise, the easier it is to quit. The more you lift your voice in praise, the easier it is to wait. Choose your path wisely; eternity depends upon it.
The joy of the Lord floods my soul and I cry out to Him for He is good! He is worthy to be praised, especially in the wait.
Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, so we may see that from which you saved us. Cause the revelation of the magnitude of life apart from you to birth within us authentic worship for you have rescued us. We owe you our worship and give it willingly according to what you have done! All glory and honor and praise to the one who said: “I AM HE!”
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#SittingAmongFriends with Jamie Wiebel