Worship, Trials, And Your Unanswered Questions

David Santistevan —  November 26, 2012 — 13 Comments

Question mark made of puzzle piecesHave you ever entered into a worship service with no desire to worship?

As happy people sing happy music that echoes throughout the room, you feel alone. Maybe you’re even the worship leader and you’re having a hard time believing what you’re singing.

God has been silent.

Your prayers have gone unanswered.

Circumstances are crushing you.

You know you’re supposed to worship but you’d rather get some answers from God first.

What do you do then?

Quick Cliches & Easy Answers

We’ve all heard the cliches.

  • Worship God when it hurts.
  • No matter what, give God your praise.
  • Worship is a choice.

But quick cliches and easy answers aren’t what we need.

In my darkest moments, I just needed to be in God’s presence. I just wanted to come. I didn’t know what to say, sing, or do, but I knew I needed to come.

And that’s where you need to take your unanswered questions – into the presence of God.

Just draw near. Simple as that. No need to pretend your pain doesn’t exist. Just be. Just come. Stand there.

Because before you have unanswered questions, you need to make up your mind that you will run towards God rather than away – that in the presence of God you’ll find the answers to your questions.

Maybe not in this life, but you’ll know the sufficiency of Christ – that experiencing fellowship with Him is better than having answers, better than having life figured out.

You can say with the Apostle Paul:

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

A Closing Video

To close this post, I want to share a song that has been a personal prayer of mine. This is a song off our new Allison Park Worship album.

After the video, I’d love for you to leave a comment about your story – how God has proven himself faithful in the midst of your pain and unanswered questions.

May it serve to strengthen your faith and your joy in Christ today:

[tentblogger-youtube C1AfJvG6_XE?hd=1]

Question: What have you learned about life and God through your pain and unanswered questions? Let us know in the comments below. It’s always better when you share!

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan (Flickr)

13 responses to Worship, Trials, And Your Unanswered Questions

  1. Spiritual and emotional low points are incredibly lonely for a pastor. I struggled with doubts and hopeless feelings for well over a year in 2005-2006 and didn’t share them with anyone out of fear. Ultimately I cracked. I broke up with my girlfriend (who is now my wife) and tried to quit my worship pastor position.

    God was faithful. My church came around me. Getting away for ten days at a Sonscape retreat for hurting pastors (http://www.sonscape.org) did a world of good. I also got medical help for my depression.

    I’d encourage others if you are hurting or feeling hopeless, don’t listen to the lies of the enemy that no one will understand. Don’t isolate yourself. Share with a trusted circle of friends and get help.

    • Chris, thanks for opening your heart and sharing about your experience. It really helps to encourage others. I haven’t heard of Sonscape. How is retreat formatted? Do you set your schedule or is it structured for you?

      • Sonscape is very open. There was one two-hour group time each day and the rest is free time just to go be in the woods of Colorado, pray, read and be alone with the Lord or your spouse. They have a host couple that cook all of your meals and take great care of you. The lead ministry couple meets with you for three two-hour counseling sessions throughout the time you are there. It was a great experience for me.

  2. David, awesome post! I always enjoy your blogs. Awesome song and such truth. My dad died 2 1/2 years ago and I was helping to lead worship at my church. 2 weeks after he died I went back to helping lead worship, now looking back, I’m not sure what I was thinking by doing that so quickly after his passing, but I did it and took small breaks on and off for 2 years after until I have just recently left. All that to say that most of the time, being in worship, was the only sane times for me, the only time when my overwhelming pain seemed a bit more tolerable. Worship was the only time I could clear my mind and focus on God and not my brokenness. My family was unbelievably close and my dad’s presence is still missed every day, of my sisters I was most like him and he was my constant source of encouragement (which I have since learned that God is my source of encouragement). Through my constant worship, even during the times where I had a million more questions/hurts/fear/anger than I did anything else, His peace was constant. When I would make the choice to worship Him through the pain and would allow Him to carry me when I was paralyzed with brokenness was when His peace flooded me and healing came (and is still coming). Jesus truly is a very present help in time of need! I’m now in the process of launching a woman’s ministry to pour into women that same heart of worship and inspire them to be helped, healed and made whole through God only to go out and pour into the lives of others! Thanks for the blog!

    • Amy, what a story. I love seeing how God has comforted you and redeemed your situation, even though it doesn’t minimize the pain. I love what you said – “worship is the only sane thing I could do”. So powerful!

  3. Awesome post. I’ve been reading your blogs about worship. I’ve been blessed to start leading worship at a young age. Sometimes, I get frustrated why I can’t feel the same passion I had when I was younger. Yet, I’ve really realized that I’ve been focusing too much on external things and forgetting how simple the answer to my questions were- drawing near to God. Thank you for the song at the end of your blog. Truly, God will make things possible. I will trust Him. :)

    • JD, thanks for stopping by! When did you start leading worship?

      • I’ve started leading worship when I was about 15 or 16. Before that, I’ve been back-up vocals for the other leaders. Is there a site where I can see the chords and lyrics for your song “God of the impossible?’ It has served as an inspiration for me. I’m still learning more of God, as well as my ministry. Thank you for your posts, it helps a lot to us, young leaders.

  4. Love your blogs. I’ve ask all my IBC students to start reading them. Your writing is a treasure to the Kingdom of God.

    I recently referred to your list of 5 Tips for Brand New Worship Leaders in a class at IBC and also in a meeting with our worship leaders at Calvary Tabernacle. #5 strongly resonated with me and these classes. STAY AMAZED! “Fight to stay amazed. Fight to keep your heart alive to His breathtaking beauty.” That is such good advice for those who are New or Seasoned with involvement in Worship Ministry.

    Wonderful song attached to this blog. Do you know if the charts or tracks are available?

    God bless you!

  5. We forget how much of the Psalms are laments.

    God is to be worshipped at all times. Especially during dark times of the soul.

    “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou settest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” – Psalm 23

    We forget that there is a huge place in life and in worship for songs of lament, and songs of affirming the Lord’s person and presence with us in all times and seasons of life.

    Sitting and soaking in His presence in worship in those difficult periods helps to bring comfort and healing to our deeply wounded, aching places. The local church needs to see worship leaders who are hurting still worship — this lets people know when the bottom falls out of life, God is still there –He can be worshipped when we don’t understand Him and frankly, hate what He is or is not doing about life.

    God inhabits the praises of His people — He draws near us when we praise Him. Happiness is not required to praise and worship God.

  6. Praising God through ‘it’ is something thats really been sticking out to me recently. Doesn’t matter what we’re going through, ‘draw near to God’ comfortable in the realization that He’s there despite us ‘feeling’ Him or not He’s there. lo I am with you always Mat 28:20.

    That song is simply Awesome…!!!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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