By Tamra Dalbey
We watch a lot of worship on YouTube at night… mostly after the kids have gone to bed. If you have never done this-I highly recommend it. I’ve never come away thinking it was a waste of time. I crave this time, and the blessing of closeness that follows. The songs we gravitate to are the ones born in pain and thick with truth. These songs are food for our worn out souls. There are nights we stay up too late, losing track of the time. “Can we somehow get paid to worship instead of going to work tomorrow?” I asked, jokingly, one late weeknight. Then it occurred to me: In Heaven, worship will be our “day job”. What a wild thought. What a future.
We were created to worship. Yet there are times we sing along unaffected. Our Christian-saturated lives can sometimes trivialize and take away the shock value of the cross. Distracted, we forget to slow ourselves and remember the weightiness of the work He’s done.
As if we’ve been spiritually asleep.
Worship stirs our soul to wake up.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” (John 4:23). I pray we will be found, like David, “after His heart”… here on this side of eternity.
What a sobering glimpse into Heaven we are gifted in Revelation 5: “(v.3) And no one in Heaven or under the Earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals’.” They go on to praise God in one of Revelation’s most famous worship declarations… on their faces.
This passage captures man’s hopeless need for redemption, and all of Heaven’s reply to the worthy and victorious Lamb who provided it. No more separation. He has torn the veil. Opened wide the blockade keeping us from His Holiness. He takes a war torn and sin-ravaged people and heals our land. The best part: He doesn’t save us to isolate us to the back room, but longs to bring us close. So close that He prays, in John 17, that we would become “one with Him”. Truly this is a new testament, a new covenant. No longer are we held to the law which brought only death. Instead, He’s robed us in His righteousness. This is why I worship.
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”. For the believer, Heaven gets to start now. So come. Buy. Taste and eat of His gift. It’s all free for us because He paid the way. He’s faithful to trade up our lukewarm worship for worship filled with spirit and truth. In Heaven, when we see Him, we will not be reserved in our appreciation. You give me a crown? No. Not my work Lord – You’re the One who did the work. It’s not my victory – it’s Yours. Crown falls to His feet. Worthy, worthy, worthy!
This kind of worship is not trite, but is sung “from the gut” in response to the One who has done for me what I could not do for myself. It’s at times sung from a place of pain we’re experiencing in this life, and yet choose to lift our arms upward, testifying of His goodness through it all. Like a smile through the tears…a joy that is real. It compels us to leave the grave behind (our death) and reminds us that His redemption has been accomplished (our life). Finished by Him.
Worship comes with many blessings. Here, He takes the believer’s cup from “full-ish” to overflowing. He sweeps out our hearts. Cleans house from the desires of this world, returning our gaze to Him. He gives His strength to take on the mountain we’re facing. And He rewards us with peace. We begin to see that He goes before us to fight our battles.
But worship is not just for us. It is more blessed to give than to receive. I see how this is true when I bring to Him the sacrifice of praise. We spend our lives pouring into ourselves. I think of that person at the gym, laboring over their body hour after hour. Or the OCD lady (me!) wanting everything ridiculously tidy. We are so attentive when it comes to bettering the physical. Lord, give us the desire to give You- the One who made impossible possible- our energy and devotion. I can’t fathom how You could be blessed by us, but You are. Like the costly perfume Mary poured out on Your feet, may our affection be to you a sweet aroma. Often.
This really isn’t about singing songs… much more than that. It’s a proclamation. We’re telling, allowing, inviting Him to be King all over again. God doesn’t care how you sound. He’s more interested in the sound your soul makes.
My daughter recently got a hold of my guitar that I had left out. What resulted gave me the perfect picture of how God might view our worship. It wasn’t too pretty (she’s seven) but my, oh my, was I blessed to hear it! Lucky for us, our God isn’t performance focused. He is a dad blessed and glorified by our humble, imperfect songs. Yeah, there’s a kiddie guitar in our Amazon cart 😉
If we aren’t coming, we are missing out of Heaven on earth. But be encouraged: He knows us. All of us. He knows and He’s still in. No condemnation. He’s here, unmovable, ready to meet. He calls you by name. And He is worthy. In the words of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68).
You go before I know that you’ve even gone to win my war
You come back with the head of my enemy
You come back and you call it my victory
And all I did was praise
All I did was worship
All I did was bow down
All I did was stay still
Hallelujah you have saved me; So much better this way
Hallelujah Great Defender; So much better Your way