By Chris Denning
You’re Never Too Far From God
I don’t know if you’re like me, but if I’ve had a bad week, heard some rough news, or done something I regret, I have a hard time worshiping. Mentally, I have a hard time getting past all that stuff to focus on what really matters.
I can even remember a time in my life where I was so deep in regret and shame that I couldn’t even turn my attention from myself for even a moment.
Honestly, I know that there are people who join us at Journey every week who are in this place. I can see it in their eyes and how they carry themselves. I can feel the heaviness, almost even see their burden because of what they’ve done in their life or what circumstances these actions have brought.
Looking into the Old Testament, we find a guy who knows a little something about dealing with these feelings of shame and regret, but his response is a little different than mine is sometimes: King David.
King David had a life filled with drama, lots of ups & downs. Ultimately, his choices brought him to a place where he had committed adultery, sent the woman’s husband to war to die to hide his transgression, and was left in a deep hole of pain, regret and shame.
In Psalm 51, we find David in his lowest place, face-to-face with the reality of what his sin had brought him:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
However, what is most curious about this situation is how David responds. Rather than choosing to have pity on himself or to deny the ugliness of his sin, David chose to respond in worship:
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
In David’s darkest time, he chose to worship. He chose to ask God to help him praise again, to turn his heart, and to forgive him. Not because of anything David had done, but because he was offering God a broken and contrite heart.
This gives me hope that even during my hardest week, my most difficult situations, I still have the ability to choose to respond in worship. I hope that I can decide in those moments to ask God to open my lips to give Him praise.