It takes a special kind of crazy to remain sitting in your pew when the worship pastor asks everyone to stand. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a choice. My chronic illness made it nearly impossible to stand for even short amounts of time without lightheadedness from blood rushing to my feet. Still, each time the pastor asked us to stand and I couldn’t, I felt guilty.
The fact was, it wasn’t just my body. It was my heart too. My heart couldn’t stand and sing-it was too frail.
At this point in my illness, severe depression reared its ugly head and tried to convince me my life was useless and wasteful. It was hard to believe my life had purpose and value.
And singing about how God uses pain for our good only put salt in the wound.
One Sunday I was as usual the oddball sitting while everyone stood and sang. I don’t recall the song, but it was something about God’s grace. It hit me hard.
Of course I knew in my head that God was using this for my good, and that He would sustain me. But the severe brain fog and depression clogging my mind made remembering that truth difficult.
Yet that morning the words reminded me of the grace and truth I’d forgot. I collapsed, started sobbing, entirely out of control.
Jesus had chosen the most horrible death history has recorded to rescue me from my sin. I was His beloved, His child. While everyone around me might see “strange,” or “sick” He saw, “Redeemed.”
It was true: I wasn’t worth the sacrifice. But He still chose to place that value upon my life.
For the first time, I realized what it meant to worship through pain and depression. I defied my emotions and gloried in the God who would do such a thing. I praised Him for who He was.
If you dread Sunday mornings and the sound of happy people singing, hear me: You need worship. It is the only way to get out of yourself and your depression. You must look beyond yourself to God’s greatness. You must revel in the fact that He chose to die for you. He chose to price the payment of your sins at the very highest price-the death and suffering of Jesus Christ.
My friend, dwell on that humbling truth. Let it free you to worship. Let it inspire you to know more of this God who would do such a thing. Let it empower you to sing though your heart is throbbing and that lump in your throat refuses to leave. Let it remind you God’s grace is sufficient. Remember that our Lord knows your trials and understands your hurt like no one else ever will.
Choosing to worship is certainly difficult. But remember, you have something to sing about. You have a reason to come out of yourself and serve. You have a reason to praise.
When you can’t sing, recount God’s mercies. Remember how He has rescued you. Praise Him for who He is. Thank Him for what He has done. Exchange your spirit of heaviness for a garment of praise.