They were stripped, beaten bloody and thrown into prison. Their feet were clamped in stocks in the deepest, dankest depths of the dungeon. Can we all agree that it doesn’t get much worse than that? Just imagine the kind of conversation you would be having with your cellmate after a day like that.
And yet in their darkest hour, Paul and Silas were not cursing or complaining. Quite the contrary.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God Acts 16:25 NIV
What a surprising response! When I have a bad day I get discouraged, frustrated and emotionally deregulated. I focus in on all the wrong things. What Paul and Silas model for us is the choice we can all make to zoom out and get a God-sized perspective of our situation.
What do you do on a bad day? How do you zoom out?
One word. Worship.
Worship is taking our eyes off of our circumstances and focusing on God.
Worship is focusing on the fact that Jesus did on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin.
Worship is focusing on the extravagant love of God that restores us to relationship with him.
Worship is focusing on the fact that God works all things out for good.
Worship is focusing on the fact that we have eternity with God to look forward to where there will be no mourning, no sorrow, no suffering or pain.
Is it easy? No. But it is a choice we have the power to make.
It helps to remember these three realities:
We are all worshippers. All day, every day, we all worship. Worship is simply our response to what we value most. At the end of the trail of your affection, energy, money time and allegiance you will find what you value most.
All misguided worship leads to pain. There is an enemy of your soul who is trying to get you to love something else more than God. Jesus encouraged us to put God first, to seek first the kingdom of God.
All true worship leads to peace. The worshiper inside us is searching for something that satisfies. No money, status, person or thing can bring the peace we long for. When we focus our worship on God, we gain the perspective that rises above our circumstances. And we find true lasting peace.
Bad days are part of life on the planet. Complaining sweeps us away on that downward spiral. To respond in the challenges of life with worship would be so surprising! The peace that follows is the best surprise. Peace that passes our understanding.