Worship Through the Storm: Abiding in Him

When I was first introduced to the kind of worship where people would raise their hands in the air, I was very new to the freedom that Christ offered. I remember specifically looking at people who raised their hands in worship and found myself wondering why they did it. 


I asked someone beside me one time after a night service at camp when we were walking back to our living space. She told me it was a way that people expressed feeling God in the atmosphere and that it was like reaching for Him, just to be closer. The next night, I felt the warmth in my heart and the prompting to raise my hand up and I did for the first time. It was like a release of freedom I had never experienced before. 


A release. That’s how I’ve always seen worship since day one of watching others and experiencing it intimately myself. 


As I’ve gown in my love for Christ and as I have been walking with Him, I have watched people worship all around me and listened. I’ve learned a great deal by watching other people worship around me and I am always honored. God always shows me the tiniest glimpse of what eternity is going to look like in those small moments. Worship is such an outpouring and release of what’s happening inside the heart of everyone who is standing, singing, dancing, moaning, and screaming before Him. It is also a holy moment of life where He is doing something corporately in the expression of His body through everyone who participates. Whether I am part of the body worshipping or up before the body helping usher in His spirit, it is a great honor to be part of what He is designing with the work of His hands. 


And the best part — the thing I love most about it — is that there is no wrong way to worship. 


When I first realized there was no wrong way to worship, I began to let go more seamlessly in my corporate and personal worship. On rooftops in countries I fell in love with, sweating more than I have in my lifetime, I would watch as sunrises and sunsets exploded in the sky and show me more of the masterpiece that God created in the world and in me. My squad mates would lead me and the rest of our people into the presence of God everywhere and I would trace my hand on brick walls. My face would illuminate by lanterns on ledges. I would look up at stars in such huge wonder at my God who had created me to be here for such a time as this. 


Recently, I was looking at old notes from these old seasons in my life and I was amazed at the common thread between all of them. It lead me to believe that the season of growth and learning He has me in right now is not by accident. It’s a season that is teaching me about abiding in the promises He’s given me long before I have been here and about submitting to the sovereign hand He’s always had placed upon my back. 


I recently worshipped alongside friends and thousands of other people with Elevation Worship at the Orpheum Theater in Boston and something they said about worship really hit me to the depths of my core. 


They said that worshipping through the storm does not mean you are fake, but it means that you are abiding. 


I have always lived believing that I shouldn’t sing words if I don’t actually believe them in my heart. The idea of singing something I don’t believe yet really goes against this very strong value I have with being authentic in everything I do and say. 


Steffany Gretzinger, however, often encourages people to sing even when we don’t believe it when she sings for Bethel. One of the most powerful songs I’ve seen her sing on youtube recently is Cory Asbury’s Reckless Love. She explains in the video that the last year had been a year where she didn’t believe the words yet, but that she sang them until they became her truth. Even when I heard that, I still couldn’t bring myself to worship through the stuff I couldn’t believe or found myself hindered because of my own jealousy or hurt I was experiencing personally. 


To sing even though it wasn’t true just didn’t sound like me. 


But you know, worship is not about me, it is about God. 


When I heard that singing through the storm and singing words I didn’t necessarily believe yet didn’t mean inauthenticity, it meant abiding, that changed absolutely everything in my spirit and unleashed something inside that I hadn’t felt in some time. Freedom and Release.


Bottom Line: There are so many reasons to worship through the hard things.


If you can’t find it within yourself or you’re in a hard season now, remember what He has brought you through, because that is reason alone to worship Him more. I’ve been finding recently that it’s in the worship where we I am finding it hard to that Christ is glorified more because it is in those times where I am truly putting my cares aside and offering my faint heart and mind up to Him.


God is worried about our hearts. If your heart isn’t in it, He knows already, but extends such an abounding grace even I can’t understand. But He delights in the tries and won’t revoke us even if we are struggling to put our whole heart into it. 


He sees us abiding in Him anyway and takes delight in that. 


Sometimes I find it easier to worship Him and be in Him when I am in a good season, but it has been in the hardest and loneliest season ever that I have found Him to be most faithful, most present, and most here-with-me, thus revoking lies of the enemy that entangle me. It has been in this season where I have seen Him do more work in my faith than ever before, and for that, I will never stop worshipping.

Ashley CookComment