Worship Helps You Return to Joy
I was awestruck when my daughter, Sarah, who was two years old at the time, found comfort in my arms after her arm was badly scraped from an accident in the playground. In just a matter of minutes her sobbing subsided and her gloomy expression was replaced with a cheerful smile. How could there be so much power in what seemed to be an insignificant thing? A mother’s embrace chased her tears away.
The strongest force in the first two years of a child’s life is the desire to experience joy in loving relationships. Securely attached children seek comfort and closeness from their parents when they are upset. Once they are calmed something mysterious happens. They are able to get down and play as if nothing painful ever happened. Psychologists call this returning to joy.
I never learned how to return to joy as a child. Unfortunately, like many others, trauma and the lack of nurturing continued to impact my ability to hold onto joy as an adult. After working hard to hold my life together for many years, I finally came to the end of myself and cried out to God for help. Thankfully He had an answer for me.
After being challenged to spend twenty minutes a day worshiping God for a month, I began to daily praise and adore the Holy One even though I was in excruciating emotional pain. In time, as I boldly, and sometimes not so boldly, bowed my heart before Him in worship, I was spiritually transported into the very throne room of God.
In the beginning of my worship journey, trauma and abuse had distorted my perception of the fatherhood of God so I didn’t feel like He was safe. Even though I knew the scriptures describing God as a loving and merciful heavenly Father, I couldn’t believe them in the depths of my heart. He seemed to be invisible and far-away, but I was desperate so I continued to press in. I was completely undone when I experienced His loving kindness in a way that took my breath away.
Psalm 78:38 describes God as compassionate. I like the description of this word found in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: “Suffering with another; painful sympathy; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another; pity; commiseration“. I found this to be true of our Father God as I bowed my pain before Him. In time I heard Him gently speaking scripture over me reminding me that I am His beloved daughter. This was like “a kiss from the King” which according to rabbinic tradition is a living word from God. As a result, I found comfort in the arms of my Savior and was able to return to joy.
In the beginning of my journey I worshiped God because I desperately wanted to be healed. As I began to see that His heart was for my good I was able to pursue the Healer for who He is and not for what he could do for me. Like Brother Lawrence I found these words to be true: “To be with Him is really your only support and your only comfort during affliction.”
When you enter the throne room of your Heavenly Father and pour your heart out to Him in praise, He will replace your hurt with His joy. You will find “a kiss from the King” waiting to enlighten you to the boundless love the Holy One has for you.