This Sunday morning, I am giving a teaching entitled, "The Key Is Worship."
The basic premise is this: There is power in praise, especially as I walk through trials and adversity.
I can worship - or I can worry.
I can worship - or I can wail (and there is nothing wrong with wailing or crying in the midst of suffering - it is just that worship is the better way).
I can look to the problem - or I can look to the presence of Jesus.
In his book, "If God Is Good - Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil," author Randy Alcorn recalls when his friend, writer Ethel Herr, had a double mastectomy.
Two months later doctors discovered the cancer had spread. One of Herr's friends, shocked and fumbling for her words, asked her, "And how do you feel about God now?"
Reflecting on the moment the question was posed to her, Herr says:
"As I sought to explain what has happened in my spirit, it all became clearer to me. God has been preparing me for this moment. He has undergirded me in ways I've never known before. He has made himself increasingly real and precious to me. He has given to me joy such as I've never known before - and I've no need to work at it, it just comes, even amidst the tears.
He has taught me that no matter how good my genes are or how well I take care of my diet and myself, he will lead me on whatever journey he chooses and will never leave me for a moment of that journey. And he planned it all in such a way that step by step, he prepared me for the moment when the doctor dropped the last shoe - God is good, no matter what the diagnosis or the prognosis, or the fearfulness of the uncertainty of having neither. The key is knowing God is good is simply knowing him."
The key to worshipping in times of trial and suffering is knowing God.
Here is what I know: Worshipping God during times of trial and suffering begins with thanking him for all the little things. And as I daily, incrementally worship God with a thankful heart, it builds up an lifestyle of worship - to where when the "big" things come - my heart and soul are full of praise.
Did you know that you take approximately 23,000 breaths every day?
The process of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide is a complicated respiratory task that requires physiological precision. We tend to thank God for the things that take our breath away. And that's great!
But maybe we should thank him for every other breath too!
And that is the starting point of creating a lifestyle of praise.
Just a thought for a Thursday.