When I was 16, I felt God stirring my heart towards worship ministry as a vocation. Fast forward 6 years and I’m at Azusa Pacific University getting ready to finish my education. It had been 6 years of fumbling forward in pursuit of what I felt God calling me to. Six years of leading worship in every venue I could find. Youth groups, college groups, camps, adult Bible studies (with 7 people in the room), Sunday night church (remember Sunday night services?). Six years of piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons. Six years worth of mistakes and embarrassments as I learned how to lead worship — and how not to lead worship. I had pursued God and what I felt he was calling me in the best way I knew how.
That’s where I was 6 years in. About to graduate and on the very edge of entering ministry — the thing I had been dreaming of and pursuing. However, it was in this season, at this time, that I was also caught in a behavior that God was trying to correct. Sin had crept in. It’s important you know everything I mentioned above as context for the way I felt as God was pursuing me on this issue. I felt unworthy. I felt guilty. Embarrassed. Ashamed.
The other day I was talking with a friend who said, “My favorite part of worship is when the drums build into an exciting climax.” This is not an unfamiliar statement. I’ve heard similar comments like this before — you may have too. I love my friend and know he loves Jesus, but whenever I hear comments like this concerning worship it vexes my spirit.
Don’t misunderstand me. I love music. I love musical dynamics. In fact, music isn’t musical without dynamics. I believe God made us emotional beings. I believe that to strip ourselves of emotions when we worship God devalues who God created us to be. (Everything in balance of course.)
“It’s not fair. I have faithfully served the Lord, why is this happening to me?” This is something I have said many times. I bet you’ve said it too. It’s doesn’t take too long in life to begin to feel the disappointment of things not going your way. The disappointment can so easily turn into depression, anger, and frustration.
This is where Elijah found himself in 1 Kings 19. Elijah has a great victory, but when his life is threatened, he flees. Eventually he finds himself in a cave of depression. In the coldness of the cave the “woe is me’s” begin to set in.
After recently spending a lot of devotional time in the Old Testament I thought I should balance my time out with a season in the New Testament. What better place to go to than Romans, which brought me to Romans 4 where Paul talks about how Abraham was justified by faith.
Romans 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.