Battle to Breakthrough

A Song of Lament and Hope: The Harp in the Willow Tree

"I, for my part, confide in Your kindness; may my heart exult in Your salvation! I will sing to the Lord,  because He has dealt bountifully with me." ~Psalm 13:5-6

There comes a time in all of our lives when we struggle to worship. Why? Because we all experience worship with our emotions and because of that we tend to rely on our emotions to help us “feel like” worshipping, which is not a correct perspective of why we worship. Remember, worship is a spiritual experience and exists outside of our natural, physical experience and worship is about the Lord, not about ourselves. Even so, let’s keep things real here and admit that plenty of times when we do not “feel like” worshipping – we don’t do it!

Psalm 13:1-2 says,How long, O Lord? Will You forget me for good? How long will you hide Your face from me? How long will I harbor cares in my soul and sorrow in my heart by day?”

Plenty of people face the same struggle- even heroes in the faith! We all struggle with disappointment with God. We all struggle with issues from the past. We all struggle with our emotions toward what we thought our lives should have been, with dreams that don’t come true, with people who mistreat us and situations that devastate us. In fact, the “joy of the Lord” isn’t what you may think it to be. You can joy amid sorrow. You have joy even when you’re not happy. You can have the strength that comes with the joy of the Lord. (Psalm 16:11, Neh. 8:10)

Lamentations and Hope Built Powerful Praise

David, the most famous worshipper in Christian history, struggled to “feel” like worshipping. When you’re having a “natural” reaction to natural circumstances, it can feel hard to get into a place of spiritual operation. But here is secret that set David apart from others who loved God: He worshipped anyway. That self-denial and sacrifice in your worship is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons you have, but many of us don’t ever use it because we get lost in the hurricane of in our feelings. This about this: Satan would love nothing more if you never “felt like” worshipping the Lord!

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willow trees. For there our captors made us sing and our tormentors made us entertain, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.'” (Psalm 137:1-3) Zion, the city of the Lord, is YOU, under the New Covenant.

Our relationship with the Lord experiences seasons of strength and weakness not because God is more distant or closer, but because we intentionally draw closer or or unintentionally drift depart.

And yet sometimes when we remember what “Zion” once was for us, the joy and seasons of plenty, we weep because it feels like they’re gone. Here’s the thing: God never changes. WE change. Our relationship with the Lord experiences seasons of strength and weakness not because God is more distant or closer, but because we intentionally draw closer or or unintentionally drift depart.

Thought for today: A Hymn of Lamentation to Him Who is Able

Here’s a challenging thought: If you truly believed that your worship and ministry to the Lord would change things- no force on heaven and earth could stop you! If you had a guarantee that pray would hand you victory 100% of the time, you’d never do anything else! But the truth is this: We have to confront the fact that our faith may need some strengthening if we don’t operate in it with the ferocity that we should. If your faith needs strengthening, the Word of God, time in prayer and a lifestyle of praise are the way to win! It is not a sin to lament, or to feel disappointment with God or to struggle in worship. It is what you do through those experiences that makes the difference and sets you apart!

The nation of Israel hung their “harp in the willow tree” because they’d given up. They’d lost their song. They didn’t “feel like” worshipping anymore because their sinful and rebellious actions had led them into captivity. Don’t we all do that to ourselves sometimes?! We make choices that drive us into a place where we feel trapped, isolated and alone- and we lose our song, or feel like we have nothing to sing about, so we hang our harp in the willow tree and stop worshipping- when worship is what will put us on the path back to the Lord! David said this, “Psalm 13:1-2 says,How long, O Lord? Will You forget me for good? How long will you hide Your face from me? How long will I harbor cares in my soul and sorrow in my heart by day?”

But he didn’t stop there! In the same breath, he worshipped the Lord saying, I, for my part, confide in Your kindness; may my heart exult in Your salvation! I will sing to the Lord,  because He has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:5-6) And that is what made all the difference!

The Sacrifice of Praise Will Strengthen Your Faith!

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Don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Way of the Worshipper on Amazon – and AVAILABLE NOW you can also purchase The Way of the Worshipper: A Devotional Workbook for deeper study, personal examination and spiritual growth!

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