by Susan Sampson
Sing to the Lord a new song.
I always want to encourage you all. That is my heart’s desire. This semester has I think been harder than any before in trying to write the weekly email for me. To be honest I struggle to sit myself down at the computer, not knowing what to write. I pray and ask the Lord to be my help, to give me His words. He always helps me, every single time, and yet I continue to feel this way.
Today this is true more than ever. How can one who has lived a lifetime of fear write an email on “Worry or Worship?” All I know to do is share my struggle and speak God’s words to my own soul.
You may or may not remember the 1st day of our study when asked what we hoped to get out of the study this semester? I wanted to be done with my anger and fear. So guess what has happened? Has the Lord magically made me no longer get angry or be afraid? No! This is, of course, exactly what I wanted to happen. Because that would involve no pain. Of course I completely know God is not a magician, yet my life and thoughts would sadly show otherwise.
Instead the Lord has graciously and kindly allowed very difficult circumstances in my life this past year. While I do believe this to be true, it is easier for me to say “graciously and kindly” at this moment because I am alone at home and it is nice and quiet. As these things have happened, it is, I confess, very difficult for me to acknowledge His grace and love in those moments. Things do become clearer as the smoke fades and I can see the Lord and His love for me more clearly.
He says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8).
He sees the garden of my heart and the roots of sin that remain and His ways are not my ways. Thank goodness! He is the vinedresser (John 15:1). “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue you know it altogether” (Psa. 139:1-4).
As my good Shepherd, He knows what it is going to take to remove the root of fear, pride, unbelief, and idolatry. He is in fact answering the cries of my heart and I am learning to thank Him. In fact, thanksgiving is worship. “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:5-7).
I thank the Lord for bringing us together to study His word and to learn from one another. We so desperately need one another, the body of Christ. Sin clouds are thinking. The fog of fear I have chosen to live in has been dense. I have needed a precious sister in Christ to speak the truth in love to me to help clear the fog, to help me be able to see. What a gift of grace we have been given to be in a discipleship study with one another.
The Lord used this servant and sister to show me that the outcomes I desire matter more to me than the Lord’s will. I am not trusting God with my children. Confessing my sin is of course absolutely necessary, but confession alone is an incomplete work. I must believe by faith God’s words to be true and then walk in them and rest in Christ.
Then my friend said something to me that I have heard a hundred times (probably more like thousands of times) before: “sing to the Lord a new song” (Psa. 96:1) I cannot tell you how many ways this message has come to me probably over years. Yet I have not heard. Or more accurately, have not wanted to hear and so closed my ears and hardened my heart.
I looked up Psalm 96…
“Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!…For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens” (Psa. 96:1, 4-5).
Worry or worship? What will our response be? Will we continue to respond in sin or sing to the Lord a new song? I want to worship the Lord and bow in humble adoration because He has been merciful to me in not treating me as my sins deserve and given me amazing grace, the gift of new life in Christ.
Heavenly Father, we all need your grace moment by moment to turn our hearts, eyes, and minds to you. Please enable us to stop walking in worry and instead choosing to BOW in worship
Believing your Word
Obeying your Word
Worshiping you in all we say, think, and do moment by moment.
Thank you, Lord, that your grace is sufficient for us. Thank you for loving us right where we are and for sanctifying us to make us more like Christ! In your name, Amen.