When Worship Makes No Sense
T. Suzanne Eller

"Christian brothers, I ask you from my heart to give your bodies to God because of His loving-kindness to us. Let your bodies be a living and holy gift given to God. He is pleased with this kind of gift. This is the true worship that you should give Him." Romans 12:1 (NLB)

The book of Romans stumps me. It doesn't make sense. Honestly.

It was written during the hardest part of Paul's life, a time when he was in jail and he had done nothing wrong. He wrote when the church people who once applauded him now plotted to kill him or waited in the streets, tearing their cloaks in rage because they couldn't stone him.
It puzzles me because it is filled with sayings like "nothing can separate me from God's love," and "my brothers, consider it all joy when you encounter trials." It is a book of hope, of joy, and of life. Yet Paul wrote it from such a place of darkness.

Paul was a real person, not a superhero. What did he discover during those hard times that prompted such rich writings? I think the treasure is found in today's key verse, Romans 12:1. He was a worshipper. I know he sang songs because Scripture shows him singing at the top of his lungs when he was in jail. I don't think, however, that Paul is limiting this to a hymn. It became a way of life. In spite of the dark places, he looked toward the Light, and there he found joy.

Ten years ago a drunk driver slammed into my son. I stood in the church several days after the wreck. I had a bag packed in my car, prepared to go back to my son as soon as service was over. I was weary. I felt helpless. I had come to church only because my husband made me.

"Babe, you have to have a break," he said, promising to stay by Ryan's side.

My son was in pain and had months ahead to heal. The drunk driver had passed away, leaving behind only an underinsured policy that left us with piles of hospital bills and debt.

I grieved for my son. I grieved for the drunk driver's family. I grieved for the loss of normalcy. I grieved--period.

All I knew to do was to raise my hands and lift my face. Tears washed down my cheeks. I wasn't praising God because of my darkness, but because He was the only Light I knew to reach for. "God, I don't know what the future holds. I don't know how we are going to make it. But I know You."

It was both a physical act - raising my hands – and an act of the heart. I climbed into my Abba Father's arms and wept out of gratefulness. I danced on the inside though there were no dancing shoes in sight.

I thought Romans confuses you, Suz.

That's what I love about it best. In the natural it makes no sense, but supernaturally I totally get it. Darkness holds no power when I hold on to the Light. How can I help but worship Him when I discover that immense truth?

Dear Father, I pray for my sister who feels discouraged, overwhelmed, or lost. I worship You, for You are our Light in the darkness. You see her and rejoice in her faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed but large enough when placed in Your hands.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

The Woman I Am Becoming by T. Suzanne Eller

Making It Real: Whose Faith Is It Anyway by T. Suzanne Eller

Six Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer and Brain Anderson

Visit Suzie’s blog where she shares how to pray when you have no words.

Application Steps:
It's not wrong to acknowledge the darkness. It's there. It's tangible.

It's also not wrong to open the door, to flip the light switch to on, to open the shades and let the light come in.

Paul paints it as a physical act. It's overriding feelings to step into truth.

It is a gift to God, but ultimately it is a gift to you, also, as the Light blankets the darkness.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. ~ Reverend Martin Luther King

Power Verses:
Romans 8:35, "Who can keep us away from the love of Christ? Can trouble or problems? Can suffering wrong from others or no food? Can it be because of no clothes or because of danger or war?" (NLB)

Romans 8:37-39, "But we have power over all these things through Jesus Who loves us so much. For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot! The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord." (NLB)

© 2010 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

why am i not suprised... God does it again... CONFIRMATION!!!!

God lead me to Romans 8: 37 - 39 the other day, and now he is confirming to me that inspite of my dark situation nothing can seperate me from his love. No matter what the enemy tries.

Im holding onto the verse that says "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD". So no matter what your all things situation is... know that God alone is working for your good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it wonderful when God confirms His word to us.It just shows that though we can't see it He is working out something! I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall be continually on my lips. Oh bless the Lord!!!!!

Bless you Naomi.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much....

I woke up in the night...I have been hurting from a situation(s) with one of our children especially...and I haven't felt like I could sing praise or worship. I have been so downcast and feeling helpless and hopeless about many things in life.

In the darkness of the night...I worshipped. It was good to sing praise to Him again.

Thank you for the reminder....it is good to worship God...He deserves to be worshipped!

"Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me...bless His holy name..."

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your devotions. It has lifted me in many a troubled days I have had. As Mandisa sings He is with you when you don't know what to do or when you can't get out of bed.

Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, talk about "Light" therapy!!!

Anonymous Suzanne Eller said...

Hey ladies, My network is undergoing maintenance. I was so disappointed to see that my follow-up blog on my site wasn't posted, as scheduled. Please come back later today for additional resources on "when you have no words".
Suzie Eller

Blogger msyms said...

Today's reading was such a blessing. I was sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes, just thinking of how awesome God is and how He is so there for me in spite of the "physical" things I deal with. I thank God for the daily encouragement from Proverbs 31 Ministries. God bless you all!

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

I too was in a situation where I felt a strange joy - one of my boys was born with a tumor and started chemo at 3 weeks old. Instead of celebrating the birth of my beautiful boy (though he was) I was learning about the world of NICUs and PICUs. We spent the better part of a year in and out of hospitals and doctors offices. We waited anxiously until he was old enough to walk to see what the final effects of the chemo might be. All this time I had a "strange" sense of peace after I prayed and gave my son to God - that He would heal him and I would be stronger. That is just what happened. My relationship with God is so much stronger because of that journey. When you find out that you have no more strength and turn to Him you really are at your strongest.

Blogger Polly and Meek said...

Thank you for this. It is so true. When darkness is all around, we can always call on our Father. I look to the hills from which cometh my help and I know that ALL my help comes from the Lord. It is a beautiful thing.

Continued Blessings,

Blogger T-Reese said...

Thank you for once again being so obedient to God as you share with us His faithfulness towards us. I have been dealing with a lot of stress. In my marriage. In motherhood. In leadership role I have in ministry. It just seems most times than not, that I will never see a break. But I know that I am a worshipper and that when I put all else aside, I know how to touch the heart of God and get His attention, and it truly is all in worship. Thank you so much! Be blessed.

Being a worship leader, this speaks to me in another light. Thank you for sharing how God has revealed Himself to you in this way! I'll be sharing it as well as making sure that in my dark hours I don't pull back, but reach out (and up!) God bless!

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