Worship is always a choice. When life is peaceful and painless, the choice to respond to God in thanksgiving and praise may not be hard. But at other times, worship becomes a gutsier decision. Caught up amidst a whirlwind of pain and confusion, the decision to cry out, "Yet I will praise you" is a costly act of devotion. In the life of every worshiper times will come when worship meets suffering. And these moments shape what kind of worshipers we become. Yes, praise be to God for times of abundance and plenty—those carefree days full of peace and laughter. Yet we praise him also in the wilderness times—those dark and stormy seasons of the soul when we're left crying out with the psalmist, "How long, O Lord, how long?" (Psalm 6:3).
When there's nothing to rock the boat, our trust in God is rarely tested. Seasons of stillness and calm are wonderful; yet before long the winds will gather, and we'll find ourselves caught once again in the storms of life. We may have faith to believe in God as Lord of the calm—but do we also have faith to believe in him as Lord of the storm? He is Lord of both the hurricane and the gentle breeze.
Lamentations gives us a great example of a worshiper who experienced pain and yet used the act of remembering as a pathway to praise. The Message words it: I remember it all … the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope (3:20-21, emphasis added).
What a fantastic way to voice this powerful principle! The discipline of remembering helps us keep a grip on hope and find our way on the paths of praise.1