Worshipping When Worship Hurts
On Tuesday, September 18, 2018, my twenty-year-old son, Brandon, died. Just two days before, we stood next to each other and sang in worship. Less than a week after, I stood in front of his casket and sang again.
Raising four sons in a Christian home, my husband and I tried to make church a regular part of our lives. Even more, we tried to make worship something that we didn’t just do at church. And while worship is about so much more than music, music often played a part in our worship. We danced to Christian worship songs. VBS and its music were consistent parts of our summers. Veggie Tales music played on our television, and Christian radio played in our car.
In the days following Brandon’s death, worship was not hard. I didn’t worship because I wanted to worship. I worshipped because I was compelled to worship. It was as if God was pulling me so close that I had no alternative but to bow. So, I did, face down in front of my son’s casket, perhaps more humbly and honestly than ever in my life.
But, in the days and months after, as I struggled through the fog of grief, as my mind reeled from the reality of it all, as I pulled myself out of the Lord’s embrace and began asking the “whys” and arguing the “what ifs,” worship became harder. Music became a double-edged sword, speaking to my soul, whispering into places that mere words could not penetrate.
Every song “spoke” to me, and every song hurt, but worship music was especially difficult. Worship is, after all, to give praise to the One who created me, the One who saved me, the One who gave me my son, and the One who allowed him to be taken away.
Worship during Sunday morning became excruciating. Even now, there are times that my mouth cannot voice the words. There are times that tears flow down my face. There are times when my knees shake, and my heart breaks, and I want to plug my ears and scream. And in those times, the worst times, when I shut my eyes, and my knuckles turn white from holding myself in place, then, I worship with the only thing I can give at that moment—my presence.
Because even in the hurt, even in the battle, even in my darkest, hardest days, I still know that God is God, and I am not, that He is my Creator, my Redeemer, my Savior, the keeper of my Salvation and the keeper of my son. The Bible tells us that if we don’t worship Him, the rocks will.
So, how do I worship when worship hurts? I remember what is right about God instead of what is wrong with me, and like the Nike slogan says, I “just do it,” because God alone is worthy, and God alone deserves my praise.
Tricia K. Brown
Tricia K. Brown, is a Christian author and inspirational speaker. For 30 years, she has worked as an editor and freelance writer for organizations and individuals including the United Methodist Publishing House, Mailbox magazines, and psychologist, Ari Kiev. She is the author of three books including her recently published novella, Seen, Heard, Beloved, which is available on Amazon. Through her business, The Girls Get Together, Tricia shares stories of life, loss, and laughter to encourage women in their walks with the Lord and each other. You can connect with her on Facebook, on Instagram @ThisGirlTriciaB, or on her website at www.thegirlsgettogether.com.