Do you wallow? Or choose to praise?
As my husband and I set out for church one Wednesday evening, we decided to leave early to stop for a quick dinner. As we parked our car at a restaurant near the church, my eyes immediately went to a sobbing teenage girl who had positioned herself on a rock just outside the main entrance. She was on the phone, crying and distraught. Apparently her boyfriend had just broken up with her and she had no idea how life would continue through the heartache. As I overheard her wails, my heart broke for her. So many things came to mind to tell her. I wanted her to know that this, too, would pass. I wanted to say that over time this moment would not be a defining one for her. But I kept my age-earned wisdom to myself, and although I wanted to give her a hug, I resisted that as well and we entered the restaurant.
We ordered our meals and enjoyed our dinner, but my mind was never far from this little one who was grieving. A group of friends had accompanied her to the restaurant and they waited patiently for her inside. She came in and joined them only to leave again when her phone rang several times during their meal. An opportunity to impart a little wisdom to her never surfaced, and so we finished our meal and headed on to church. I said a prayer for her and added a little praise that those heartbreaking teenage years were behind me!
We arrived at church and went inside, following our usual routine and I put the teenager out of my mind. Service began. As we stood to worship, my eyes went to the large screen at the side of the sanctuary where the lyrics are displayed. As usual the video displayed the congregation as the background and the lyrics scrolled across the bottom of the screen. I couldn’t believe it. Front and center of the big screen was the girl! Her arms were outstretched in the air, her eyes closed, and tears streamed down her face. She was singing the worship song at the top of her lungs. And she was smiling. And crying. And singing. And worshipping.
I was taken back. And I knew at once why I had the honor of following her journey from afar the last hour or so. This young girl, with a broken heart, was seeking solace and comfort from our Lord in her heaviest time of sorrow. Seeking solace and comfort from our Lord in times of sorrow! How many times, I wondered, did I not feel like entering into worship when things weren’t going my way? How many times did I miss the blessing and the comfort that only an encounter with the Lord can provide? I imagined the faith like a child that led her to believe that her heavenly father would meet here where she was, and bless her broken heart. She chose to worship! She could have just as easily chosen to wallow. The girl was a powerful reminder of the kind of faith that I write and teach about. Now I prayed that I would more often choose to practice it as well.
I saw her leave the church that night. She was smiling and laughing with her friends, her heart obviously at that moment renewed. It was ironic. I had desired to share my wisdom with her. Instead, without knowing it, she had imparted her wisdom to me. In times of sorrow and despair, choose to worship the creator of the universe. And He will give you peace.