Do you ever feel like your life has gotten completely out of hand? Do you ever look around in your own experience and see nothing but disasters? Sometimes it’s as if you are caught up in your own nightmare scenario and you don’t know the way out. Maybe something happened and you’ve lost all your friends. Maybe no one really understands you and you feel completely alone. Maybe that thing you did in secret has come to light and you’re afraid the ceiling is going to cave in on all your relationships. Maybe you’re out of money. Maybe you’re sick. Maybe you’re about to lose the person you love the most. In those moments, it’s hard to cling to your faith in Jesus, right? I mean, if He’s in control, then why in the world is this happening right now? If He’s calling the shots, why did we wind up in this mess? On the night Jesus was arrested, it seemed as though the world was falling apart. Jesus was betrayed by His friend, falsely accused and sentenced to die even though He was innocent. It looked like the world was having its way with Jesus. Everything was out of control - or was it? There were little moments when Jesus showed He was still running the show. It was like an action hero in a movie winking at the camera when all seemed lost - letting you know he has a plan. When soldiers tried to arrest Jesus, He merely spoke, and hundreds of armed men fell to the ground. It was a little wink. He’s still in control. He still has a plan. In the midst of your confusion, Jesus knows what He’s doing. He’s working for your best.
We come together to worship Jesus because of who He is - because of how kind, tenderhearted and amazing He has been to us.
There are so many reasons for us to get together to do what we’re doing here. We do this to simply obey God because it’s what He wants of us and we do this because of psychology - because it helps us to remember and be thankful. We do this to reinforce the foundations of our faith and remember true things and we do this because it is comforting to know that we are not alone in what we believe.
Those are all good reasons to gather and sing praises to Jesus, but the heartbeat of why we are here doing this goes deeper. So many of the reasons behind our worship have to do with the problems we are facing and how praise helps us, but when all our problems are solved and we are in perfect, ceaseless paradise in Heaven, we will still sing to Jesus. That’s because the core reason we worship Him has to do with love. We love Jesus. That’s why we’re here to sing to Him. We love who He is. We worship because of Him - plain and simple. The person and heart of Jesus makes us want to sing. There’s no one like Him! He sees the invisible, loves the unlovable, touches the people we avoid and reaches out to the people we hate. He loved us at our worst and gave everything - even His very self to rescue us. We are nothing without Him and we need Him every moment of every day. He has been so tender, so good, so kind and so wonderful that we want to sing just because of Him. As Peter said, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”
Some days you’re just not feeling it. Some days, you may be tired, cranky, negative, apathetic or else just sad. There are times when you will wake up and go through your whole day knowing you probably should have just stayed in the bed. For folks who believe in Jesus, this is hard news to accept. We don’t like the sound of it. Christians sometimes talk as if the only acceptable way to be or feel or live is totally awesome all the time. We don’t leave space for even the occasional sin. We don’t give ourselves room for a bad day. We don’t make allowances for going through a slump. The interesting thing is that Jesus doesn’t seem as bothered by it as we are. He says sin is bound to happen. He says we should be ready to forgive our brothers and sisters even if they misbehave up to five hundred times. Psalm 103 says that He remembers we are dust and does not treat us as our sins deserve. The fact is, we are going to mess up. We are going to sin and fall and fail. Pretending you can and should make through every single day soaring on the heights is unrealistic and unkind. Jesus knows you’re going to have bad days as well as good days and He’s ready to walk you through both of them. If you don’t give yourself the grace for an off day, you won’t be able to understand when other people need that same grace. Remember that you and all of your friends are dust. Jesus does, and He’s not in a hurry to move you back into the fast lane when you need a break.
Drama is a weird thing. Everyone seems to hate it, and yet, we still have lots of it going around. When people talk about the drama in their lives, they usually roll their eyes and talk about how much they loathe all the talk and back-biting tearing their relationships apart; and yet, when some drama starts up, those same people run into the fray with their ears wide open wanting to catch as much as possible. Do we hate drama, or do we love it?
The truth is, there is something that appeals to us in all the drama. It’s exciting, right? The everyday drab nothingness gets interrupted for a little while when someone’s life is in turmoil. When there’s drama, it means something is actually happening. Life is a little less boring. Also, when you are in the middle of hearing someone else’s gossip, it feels so good to be included, right? It feels like you really belong. It feels like the secret needs you to really be a ‘thing’ which makes you feel good. You’re necessary to the whole social system. You’re important, right?
There is one huge exception, though. You see, drama feels good until it is about you. When you’re giving your opinion about someone else’s story, you feel wanted, connected and valued. When everyone you know is secretly (or not so secretly) talking about you, the story turns sour. Drama isn’t fun when it’s aimed at you and your life.
Proverbs 17:9 says, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends.” If we’re really over all the drama, let’s do something about it. Let’s cover over these stories instead of repeating them. Let’s put out the fire instead of fanning it into flame. Let’s be the people who foster love. Let’s be the people who encourage forgiveness and honesty. Let’s be the people who are known for handling sticky situations with the maturity of a real man or woman of God.
Were else are you going to go besides Jesus? You have no other choice. There is no plan B. Have you learned this yet? It takes some people longer than others to figure this out. It has taken me my entire life and even though it is completely obvious, I still sometimes find myself straining against the inevitable truth. Jesus is our only hope. He’s our only refuge. He’s our only real help. When you’re a little kid, your parents are your whole world. They provide for you, teach you and love you but at some point they let you down or lose your trust. You make friends you would die for, but they can’t measure up, right? You fall in love, but your heart gets broken. The same thing happens with siblings, teachers, pastors, and on and on. It’s as if all of life is pushing you, prodding you forward through a tunnel that keeps getting smaller and smaller until there is only one point of light - one final conclusion. Along the way you find out the alarming and disorienting truth that you can’t even rely on yourself. You aren’t enough. Money doesn’t satisfy. Sex doesn’t fill you up. Achievement, prosperity, comfort and fun are not good enough on their own. At their best they merely point toward something else - something deeper. When the ceiling caves in and the bottom drops out on your life, there is only one place to go. There is only one person to turn to. If you haven’t learned this yet, just keep living. As Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” In the end, you will find He’s all we have and He’s far more than enough.