The dashboard read a steady 108 degrees nearly all the way up the mountain. Had anyone else been in the car with me last Sunday, I would have had the windows rolled up tight and the AC pumping recycled air over coolant. But I was alone on the road, so the windows were down, the air conditioner off. Hot wind whipped through my suburban, through my hair, a trickle of sweat ran down the nape of my neck, with the music turned up loud. I was alone in the car, with my family all together back down the hill at church.
I was alone in the car, but also alone on the road for long stretches, which intensified the beauty of the drive. I picked up my phone and snapped a picture, as Lauren Daigle sang, “Your love is loyal.” It was a raspy sort of Sunday hallelujah. And I lifted my voice and sang along.
I’d missed church for this worship service. Pine trees mingled with the astringent scent of hot asphalt, legs sticking to the black vinyl of my seat, my pew, as I drove up the mountain.
My mother’s dad was a baptist preacher. As the story goes, there was a deacon in their church who sometimes missed Sunday mornings in lieu of fishing. His boat had a name: The Sneakin’ Deacon. The story makes me laugh. Though I didn’t know this man, I believe he went fishing when he needed a different sort of worship service. His lake was my mountain.
Worship is so much more than a song on a radio, or sung from the platform in a church building, with the rest of us singing along. More than the service itself, with the preaching and the tithing and communion being passed from one repentant sinner saved by grace to the next. Worship, like the Church, was meant to extend out from Sunday into all seven days — out from the building and into homes, cul-de-sacs, and all the way up into the mountains.
Worship, like the Church, can’t be confined to brick and mortar or a revolution around a clock. For worship, I’m learning, is all about trusting God. And don’t we all need to trust Him every day, with every detail? Though the sun was sweltering and the earth was dry where I drove, 3,000 miles away my family in Texas had a flood at their front door.
All the way up the mountain I found myself worshipping — sometimes dry-eyed, other times wet from an increase of faith. Like the faucet of faith got turned loose, right along with my eye ducts. I drove and I sang and I cried out my faith as I prayed for my friends and family in Texas, with floorboards under water, bloated from the Bayou pouring into living rooms.
And I thought of the minor floods in our everyday, above water lives. Like my to-do list, that threatens to overwhelm me at times, and the emotions that sometimes sweep me away. And I chose, as I drove, to trust God with it all. And isn’t that worship? Trusting that God is who He said He is; good and present and glorified through the everyday challenges? Faith is our most radical, flat-out act of worship, under the blaring sun, under the pelting rain.
Behind the wheel my thoughts moved on, and I worshipped as I lesson-planned in my mind, trusting God with my 6th grader, and the final year I had with him before Middle School. Asking God to bless that middle-boy with a mind to learn and love, and a community of friends who will grow to learn to worship Him together, over Pokemon cards and Star Wars movie marathons. There’s so much growth I’m trusting God for, in the lives of my children. And trusting God, as I said before, is my most fervent form of worship.
The worship service continued, as I prayed for the loved one I was driving up to visit, the one going through chemo. And another at home who could barely walk from pain. Trusting God with it all was my church service last Sunday.
TRUSTING GOD IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP, BECAUSE IT CONFESSES OUR FAITH THAT HE IS FAITHFUL!
The word "worship" is derived from the old English word wordscip, which meant worth-ship. The condition of being worthy. Worship is ascribing worth to an object of our affection. And who is worthy of our affection, our trust, other than God Himself? Yes, trusting God is an act of worship, because it confesses our faith that He is faithful!
And so I trusted as I drove, telling Him, “You are worthy of my trust! You are worthy of my trust. You are worthy of my trust.” Over and over again, as the details of my life flooded my mind, I boasted of His worthiness, HIs sovereignty and goodness.
Trusting God is our everyday, ordinary act of worship.
What are you trusting God with today? Your marriage, a dear one’s health, the salvation of your children, the bills in need of paying, or the car that got swept away in the flood and the house still under water? Do you know the One who thunders over the waters of our lives? Do you know that He is good and worthy of your trust?
Today a family member in Texas sent me a link to an article that made my heart sick. It told the story of a pastor of a mega-church in Houston who didn’t open his massive church building to the displaced people in his city. Instead he boarded his luxury yacht and rode through the streets preaching a prosperity gospel. He handed out signed copies of his books to people stuck on the island of their front porch or rooftop. And I cried that this is what Aunt Michelle saw circulating around social media today. So I texted her back that Jesus Himself wouldn’t be on that boat, He’d be jumping in the water and swimming to those going under. Better yet, He’d be walking on the water, running on the water, and dragging people to safety.
And isn’t that what He did on the cross? Dragging us, waterlogged from the mud and mire, drowning in sin and soul-sadness, and putting our feet securely upon a sure dry rock?
Yes. That’s why He is worthy of our trust, when the waters rise. He is worthy! And so we can trust Him every single day. Through chemo, through the floods, through overwhelming bills and broken relationships, when the sun beats hot down on your worship service, and when the rain pours.
He is God, and we are His, and our faith in the storm is the lifeboat…both now and forevermore.
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