He was a good man. A godly man. He raised his children well. He ran his home and business well. And in a moment, it was all gone.
The Bible records this story for us in the book of Job. Job was a man that God was proud to call His own. God praised Job as one that was blameless, upright, and avoided evil. But Satan wasn’t convinced. To prove that Job’s heart was truly in unity with His own, God allowed Satan to take away from Job everything that he held dear, with the exception of his wife and his life. Job lost his vast wealth, his ten children, and his health. His response?
This wasn’t Sunday-morning-in-church worship, or even breathtaking-beauty-at-the-beach worship. This was gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, head-spinning, I-can’t-catch-my-breath worship.
The Bible doesn’t share with us every detail of this moment. It only shares with us that Job tore his robe, shaved his head, fell on the ground and worshipped. But picture with me a man who is reeling and in shock, trembling as his blade passes over his skin, his robe in tatters around his waist, staggering out of his tent only to fall to his knees utterly spent of strength, his chest heaving with sobs. That man—that man that is trying to come to grips with the ten graves he must soon place his children in—that man, at his most desperate moment, speaks with quivering whisper:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
A lot of things come to mind when the word “worship” is spoken, but rarely is tear-stained desperation one of them. When we think of worship we think of hope, praise, gratitude and joy. Worship is all of those things, but it is so much more. It is also surrender, sacrifice, and humility. Worship is the continual embodiment of John 3:30. He must increase, but I must decrease.
When we don’t understand, when we can’t imagine why, when we can’t even breathe, we can worship. When we collapse in Jesus’ arms and cling to Him despite what He has allowed into our lives, we worship. When we cannot form the words, but acknowledge in our spirits that we are His, no matter what, we worship. When we extend our children’s lives with open hands, giving them to Him to take to the farthest corners of the world, or work in unsafe circumstances for the sake of the gospel, we worship.
Worship is an attitude of open hands that refuse to close around what we love. Worship is letting go of all that we are and all that we have in response to His supremacy over our lives.
Worship is both a response and a way of life. Without a constant surrender to God, we would be incapable of responding as Job did in humble praise. That response is not intuitive or reactionary. It is learned. It is practiced. It is reflective of an intimate attitude of trust in One that you know well enough to run to instead of away from when His actions make little sense.
We must develop this same condition in our hearts so that God can say of us that we are blameless, upright, holy, God-fearing, with hearts full of worship.