Read Psalm 42:11
11 Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God! (NLT)
There are times in life when we don’t feel much like praising or worshipping God. We don’t jump at the opportunity to tell God how good he is when we know how bad our life is. And yet this is just what the Psalmist repeatedly does. He might be in the pits some of the time, but he never forgets to remember that God is still God and so is to be worshipped.
Worship of God is more than just a certain segment of a church service, though it can include that. Worship is a whole of life offering of ourselves to a worthy God. It is an acknowledgment of who God is and who we are in relation to him.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, summarised worship in this way:
To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.
None of that depends on our personal circumstances but is simply a recognition of a God who is above and beyond our circumstances. When we worship God in this way, we don’t pretend all is well—the Psalmist certainly didn’t. We simply realise that there is a reality greater than our circumstances and worship enables to focus on this greater reality.
Worship of God is not escapism. Nor is it a quick fix for all our problems. It is simply facing up to the most basic truth of all: that God remains God no matter how we feel about him or about life.