Haitians worship God amid death and destruction. Is this madness? Instantaneously, out of nowhere, your life is turned upside down. You’re starving, many are looting just to survive, and amidst the chaos, the death and destruction you turn to God and worship Him. One might consider a person to be out of their mind to do this, to worship God in amidst such turmoil.
And yet, there was a time, long, long, long ago, when a man named Job decided to worship God amidst such turmoil: Job found out all his livestock and all but four servants were killed and then that his house and children were destroyed by a great wind. And upon hearing these things:
Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. -Job 1:20
Another time long ago, two of Jesus’ disciples were stripped down, beaten with rods and wrongfully imprisoned and in the midst of their circumstances: hurt in a dark, dank dungeon, in the dead of night they were praying and singing songs to God. -Acts 16:22-25
In the midst of your circumstances, even when it doesn’t make sense, you always have two choices: you can curse God or worship Him. But why, oh why would anyone choose the latter in the middle of such dire events? Job and the disciples chose as such because they trusted God, they knew that whatever happened, He had His hand upon them, like some of the Haitians in the article. A Haitian named Toussaint said, “Why give thanks to God? Because we are here,” he also proclaimed that he is still here because God has a plan for him.
There were others who did not share his sentiments, who blamed God for the natural disaster and many people wonder why or even how others in Haiti can still worship God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Can you have it both ways? Can you curse God and still expect Him to work things out for your good as well. The Bible never says that God causes bad things to happen to us, but it does tell us, for those who love Him, God can use those disasters for the good. And for those of us that love God, there is another reason to worship Him when we don’t feel like it. The reason is found in a random passage of a favorite book:
Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. Song of Sol. 4:16
In Song of Solomon, the Bride is asking the extremely dry and hot winds to blow upon her garden to make it even more pleasing to her Groom. In the life of the believer that would equate to asking for trials and tribulations to come into their life so they can be more pleasing to God; in part, to refine their lives and partly because it’s the one time in the life of the believer when they can truly give something back to God.
It’s an old philosophical debate even seen in the TV Show Friends about whether people are inherently selfish or if it is possible to do something completely unselfish. Worship usually comes with the warm fuzzy feelings, but in this type of worship, there are no warm fuzzies, there is only grief, only the gift of heartfelt praise to God whom we trust has our best in mind:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11
So, maybe we should take the lesson from our fellow believers, past and present, and worship our Lord in good times and bad; remembering:
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph. 3:17
Amazing, isn’t it, God even sings to us, like a father joying over his child or lovingly signing them a lullaby after a truly hard day.