Sometimes it is easy to enter into worship and praise. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Other times it is not. How can you lift up worship to the Lord during the Darkest Times of your Life? When Everything seems to be Falling Apart? When you feel Alone? Abandoned?
Can you worship God in the Storm? Can you still worship Him when Life does not turn out the way you thought it would? Can you worship Him when your heart is Broken?
Can you worship God when He does not answer your Prayer? Can you worship Him when you ask for Finances, and it doesn’t happen? Can you worship Him when you pray for Healing, and it doesn’t happen? Can you worship Him when you ask Him to change your Circumstances, and it doesn’t happen?
For some, those questions are too big, too hard to answer. They didn't sign up for hard times. They want blessing and provision and good times so they become discouraged, disheartened and defeated when hard things happen. Like Job's wife, their solution is to give up and walk away (Job 2:9); "Curse God and die!"
But God desires us to worship Him if for no other reason than for Who His is. He is worthy of all Praise and Glory and Honor! All the time! I must join with the psalmist (Psalm 42:8) and shout in the midst of heartbreak and pain: "By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life."
The question I have to ask myself is: "Can I worship Him when there seems no other reason except He is Worthy?" This is the exact situation the prophet Habakkuk faces. And his answer is one of the greatest statements of Faith and Worship in the Bible.
Habakkuk faces the nightmare of a Babylonian invasion. He foresees the absolute devastation they will create and declares (3:17-18), "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Wow!
To understand Habakkuk's statement, we must understand his situation: When the Babylonians invade, nothing will be left! Today in the United States, our economy is diversified and global; If any portion fails, it will be painful but it will not be the end. But for Habakkuk and his nation, it will be the end. Judah is an agrarian (farming) society; If there are no crops and no herds, that is the End! It would be as if something disastrous happened today. You go to the store and nothing is left on the shelves. Starvation is just a matter of time because Nothing is Left!
Yet what does Habakkuk say in verse 18? "...yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Amazing! There is literally Nothing to be thankful for, yet he chooses to worship the Lord.
How do we offer worship when we feel alone and abandoned? How do we sing Songs of praise in the Night? Let me suggest 3 Cs.
1. Choose to Worship
No matter your feelings or your circumstances, choose to give Jesus the Praise and Worship He deserves. It is not about warm fuzzies or experiencing a spiritual high. That is definitely not what Habakkuk was facing. In the midst of devastation, he made a decision to give God praise!
2. Celebrate what the Lord has done for you in the past
When you stop to remember what God has already done for you, it gives you encouragement and hope to keep going. Give thanks, not for what is happening now, but for God’s faithfulness in the past. In the Old Testament, God instructed Israel to set up Stones of Remembrance so they would not forget what He had done for them.
3. Cling to Jesus
Sometimes you just have to Hold On! Why? Because there is nothing and no one else. But when you hold on to Him, you find He’s been holding on to you! Remember the "Footprints" poem? Sometimes you are walking and sometimes He is carrying you. Keep on holding on!
Go ahead! Sing those Songs in the Night! Keep praising Him even when you feel all alone! Because no matter how alone you feel, He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
Bishop Joseph Garlington (Pastor and author of the worship song: My life is in You Lord) gives us a great recommendation: "The Father is looking for worshipers. So if you are looking for God and can’t seem to find Him, then stop what you are doing and worship Him – and He will come and find you."
#6 in the series, "Extravagant Worship."