It came rushing back to me during Bro. Gary's sermon one recent Sunday morning, this post, that is. I sat remembering the most painful time in my life, in the lives of every member of our family, and our tiny little Gracie-girl toddling through the house singing over and over,
Bow the Knee"Bow the knee;Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.Bow the Knee;Lift your eyes toward Heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.And when you don't understand the purpose of His plan,In the presence of the King,Bow the knee."~Chris Machen and Mike Harland
Bow the Knee. I remember the realization hitting like a lightning bolt. "This is to be our response to trials, trouble, pain, and confusion: worship."
As I said in that previous post,
I was so struck by the meaning of those words. When our world turns upside down, when nothing about life makes sense, when God's answers to our prayers are nowhere near what we expected...our immediate response should be to "bow the knee". That is the answer. Worship--focusing on Who He is and responding in awe and obedience--is the key. Plain and simple. But how hard do we often make it, and how rarely do we actually practice it!
Worship--focusing on Who He is and responding in awe and obedience--is the key. Plain and simple. It sounds so simple, but when our hearts are hurting, when we are drowning in confusion, when God's path for us seems a million miles from what we'd expected...then it doesn't seem so simple.
And yet, as Bro. Gary's sermon Sunday morning reminded me...simple or not, the treatment for the troubled soul is indeed that: to cry out to the Father, to put our focus on Him, and to worship Him.
In John 12:27, Jesus says that His soul is troubled. He KNEW what was about to come (his arrest, torture, and crucifixion), and He didn't want to go there.
I realized several years ago that despite our human wish to "know what's coming", it's often a true blessing that we don't. If I'd had any idea 10 years ago last week that in just a few days I'd be headed to Little Rock in the back of an ambulance in the middle of a snowstorm, I would have run screaming the other direction as fast as my 30-weeks-pregnant body could go (which wasn't very fast, but you get the idea.) If God had told me ahead of time that our family would be betrayed and our children harmed by someone we dearly loved and trusted, well, I'm really not sure what would have happened, but it wouldn't have been good. As much as I *think* I'd like to know exactly what God has planned for me and for my family in advance, He's teaching me that it's really better that I don't.
I'm reminded of that again here. Jesus knew every horrible, graphically-awful detail of what was about to happen. He knew that He would be betrayed by one of his closest companions, that He would be beaten and humiliated, and that He would die a miserably painful death by one of the worst methods known in human history. Worst of all, He knew that He would bear the sin of all mankind on Himself, and that in that, He would endure separation from His Father...total, complete alienation...before gloriously rising again and being restored to His place at the Father's right hand.
"His soul was troubled" seems to me to be one of the greatest understatements ever. I don't know that there are even words in our language adequate to express His anguish at that point.
And yet in the very next verse, we see the "cure" for the troubled soul:
When our soul is troubled, when we are in agonizing pain, when God's plan seems too much to comprehend, we are to do what Jesus did: Go to the Father. We are to cry out to Him, put our focus on Him, and glorify Him. Worship Him!"Father, glorify your name.”
That's not usually our first response in those times. We want the pain to go away. We do whatever we think may get rid of it. We may beg God to remove it. We want it GONE.
"But," as Bro. Gary said Sunday morning, "Jesus was all about bringing glory to God. It brings God great joy when we glorify Him."
And turning to Him, crying out to Him, and glorifying Him is the cure for our troubled soul.
As with Jesus here, God doesn't always (or even, I would daresay, usually) take away the circumstances that are troubling our soul. Satan is going to buffet us, right up until the end.
But when we cry out to God, when we go to His Word, He speaks to us and eases our troubled souls with peace that passes understanding. He reminds us that there is coming a time when Satan will be driven out, and that for the Christian, that time of Judgement will be a time of victory. For those who are born again, as Bro. Gary said, "Our victory is sealed because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ."
That's the triumph of the troubled soul. Because even though we don't know the details of the path between here and there, we know the end of the story.
Cry out to Him. Worship Him. And rest in the sure and certain hope of the victory to come.
Is your soul troubled today? First, be sure you know Him. Not just know about Him, but truly know Him. Then cry out to Him. Worship Him. Rest in Him. May I pray for you? Please message me through the email box on the right. Do you know someone whose soul is aching today? Share this post with them, perhaps?