It’s ironic that most platforms around the world exist to elevate or spotlight the people on them. When it comes to the platform of a worship service, there is nothing more humbling than for God to use us as the leading voice of corporate worship.
The songs we sing are the means for people to express their passion for Jesus. People come from all different walks of life. They not only come from the highest of highs in life, but some others also come from absolute rock bottom. The songs we sing are both for the triumphant and the hopeless, the strong, and at the same time, even for those who may literally be dying. Remembering this truth reminds me what King David voiced in 2 Samuel 24:24, I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which costs me nothing.
My worship must always have weight because I’m asking people to sing words that, for some, are incredibly costly.
WHERE THE DARKNESS CANNOT FIND ME
Earlier this year I had a bout with pneumonia that lasted approximately three months. I know there are countless people around the world who are dealing with real health challenges, perhaps even people reading this. And in the scheme of things, pneumonia isn’t that big of a deal. But to be honest, at the time, it was a big deal for me. My wife and I had a brand new baby, I was more passionate than ever about what I was doing at church—I’m a fairly driven person who can’t sit still for more than five minutes at a time—and suddenly, I found myself in bed for what felt like forever under doctors orders to basically do nothing!
We introduced the song As It Is (In Heaven) to our church around that time. We knew it was special from the first time we sung it during a service. People latched on to the faith-filled declarations of hope and confidence in God’s Kingdom now and yet to come. But for me, the song was unexpectedly costly. I recall leading worship three times during my little dance with sickness. All three of those times I led that song:
I will sing like I will there
In the fearless light of glory
Where the darkness cannot find me
And Your face is all I see
I will sing like a man
With no sickness in my body
Like no prison walls can hold me
I will sing like I am free
Now, if you’ve ever tried to sing that line about ‘no sickness in my body’ with sickness in your body, you might think about what you’re singing and what you believe at least twice.
I believe in prayer, and I believe in the healing power of God. My family, friends and I prayed every day throughout those three months for the sickness to be gone. My kids would pray every night before their bed time, and we’d believe that I’d wake up better in the morning. Did healing happen like I had hoped? Not quite. But I learned some incredibly valuable lessons through that time, which left me believing more than ever in the power of prayer and of an imminent God, closer than we could ever know.
I’m not a crier (I like to think that my eyes sweat from time to time), but the first three times I led that song I couldn’t lead without getting emotional. Why? Because the words meant a lot to me. The sickness tested what I knew about God, but God steeled my trust in Him. The humbling thing is that this is the story of many in our church services each weekend, people whose tested faith has responded with trust in our good God.
I’d love to encourage you with this: think about what you’re singing. Engage your heart and your mind. Believe what you say. And may your worship always cost you something.
If you’re going through a challenging time, my prayer for you is that as you seek Him through your worship, you would find Him in the midst of your trials (Matthew 7:7). I pray for miracles. And I pray that these songs would lift your faith, restore your hope, and highlight the unshakable truth of the Kingdom of Heaven in your life.
Hillsong Queensland Creative Pastor