Oftentimes when I am deep in the throes of depression, worship is an absolutely agonizing experience. Many of us know the privilege of being so awed and overwhelmed by our God during worship that tears come to our eyes. But imagine if you could not stop crying during worship – if you did nothing but cry and couldn’t even sing. Imagine this crying accompanied by tremendous pain. This is frequently my experience while depressed.
I believe in praising God in (during, not for) our trials. The sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) is precious to the Lord and is a good discipline for all of us. And it’s never so much a sacrifice as when we are suffering. But, why are there times when worship hurts?
For me, I’ve come to understand a few reasons why it hurts. One reason is that when I worship, I am reminded of how amazing our God is. He is completely powerful, reigning over all – nothing happens without Him allowing it. This is a glorious and comforting thought. But, the flip side of this is that God is in control of everything but is allowing my suffering to continue, even after three and a half years. Why would He do that when He could stop it? He loves me; why is He letting this happen?
Another reason is that there are so few worship songs that reflect anything other than perfect happiness. There aren’t many that praise the Lord through sorrow, that acknowledge that one can be in the depths of the pit and still worship. And those that do exist are almost never played in a church. This is so odd to me since there are a number of Psalms that reflect David’s crushing sorrow and they still worship the Lord.
This deluge of “happy” worship songs sometimes make it feel like I am less of a Christian because I can’t work up those kinds of feelings. I can’t sing those songs honestly, and that is painful, too. What’s wrong with me?
This is especially upsetting to me, because some of my best times with the Lord are worshipping in my car. These are some of the most awesome quiet times I have, especially when I’m really sick and can’t concentrate on much else.
I can’t think of any other reasons right now, but I am sure there are more. If you’ve got any more, please share in the comments.
I wish I had an answer as to how to make worship stop hurting, but I don’t. I only know that I can push through it and wait until I’m not so depressed and it hurts less.