A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.
There’s something about the words of John Muir that stir the wildness in me. Muir was so close to nature he could hear God’s whisper in the trees, he could feel his heart beat in the mountains, he could feel his breathing in the air and taste his goodness from the fruits of the trees.
I’ve always been a bit of a hippy at heart but the ways of the world have always drawn me away from the desire to be as free as I dream. But the most wonderful revelation I have had is that when we truly place ourselves in the hands of Mighty God our dreams come true. The world thinks that to follow Jesus and obey his commands is a sanctimonious set of rules made to trap a man; the irony is it is the complete opposite.
When I turned my back on God I went to wild parties, travelled the world, gave my heart and body to whatever, whoever I chose. But, the sad, sad fact was I was desperately trapped. I was in a prison of rebellion.
When I came back to church I looked at all the people and felt immediately irritated by the fact that they were all worshipping with their hands in the air. Some were even shaking and making weird noises and my immediate thought was, these people need to get a grip. If they want people to turn to God then they need to sort out how they conduct themselves during worship! Little did I know that a year from then I would be the one with my hands in the air, jumping for joy, shouting at the top of my voice how amazing God is. Little did I know, I would lay prostrate on the floor, weeping into the carpet because of the beautiful revelation that I am loved, I am forgiven and I am saved!
My mum always said we are made to worship God and if we don’t worship him we will worship something else. Every single soul on this planet is worshipping something because that’s what we are made to do. Our hearts are made to turn to what we love. Whether it is ourselves, our bodies, our food, our jobs, a person, a hobby, a house, a car…whatever it is we think about most is most likely what we worship.
When I came back to God, I worshiped him with such intensity, I thought about him all the time, he was my last thought before I fell asleep and as soon as I woke up I would smile a big smile because of Jesus! I couldn’t get enough of church, the bible, any book about God, any song about God. I told everyone about God! I even chewed the ears of the taxi drivers at 3am on my way home from a night out as I went on and on about God.
As the years have gone on and nights out are a distant memory, my love and passion for Jesus still burns bright, but it’s more like a fire in my bones that I’m tired of holding in. And the demands of family life have taken those precious moments of stillness in his presence. Oh how I took that time for granted! Now I am desperate for a small chance to get alone with God and read his precious words. And to be honest, I have felt frustrated at times because I couldn’t fully focus on him, I couldn’t read his words, or sing to him, or close my eyes and be in heavenly places, but lately God has been talking to me about worship in its fullness.
Worship doesn’t just happen when we engage our brains with him, it’s more than that. It’s more than music, its more than the raising of hands, its more than the bowing of heads and the bending of knees. I am discovering worship in the busiest moments, in the chaos, in the middle of the storm my spirit is stilled. I’ve discovered I don’t even have to utter a word or even move a muscle and I can be immersed in wonderful worship. Because worship is deeper than what is seen on the outside, worship is a matter of the heart, it is the positioning of the heart in every single moment.
I’ve come to realise that worship can be everything. When we are truly intimate with him, we become worship. Everything I say and do can be done worshipfully. When I look into the eyes of my beautiful children I am filled with gratitude and my heart is dancing with praise. When my boys smile and my eyes well with wonder, my heart is pounding a worshipful drum. When my boys are crying and hurting and I call out Jesus’ name and my heart bows in worship. When I’m tired and sick and fed up of the world and I turn to my saviour and shed my tears, my heart sings a sad song, but it’s still a worshipful one.
Jesus says, If we stay silent even the rocks would cry out, everyone and everything is made to worship the creator. Just take a look at us here on this earth, look at how we use our bodies and minds to express our love and praise. Whether it be jumping up and down and shouting at the top of our lungs at a football match, raising our arms in a concert, being intimate with a loved one or simply being unable to get a particular thought about someone or something out of our minds we allow this love to consume us. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with all of the above but my question is: Do we love these things more than we love God?
Do we jump up and down and shout at the top of our lungs for him? Do we raise our arms to him? Are we intimate with him? Are we unable to get him out of our minds because he is so wonderful and all consuming?
I long to be like this but he knows my heart, he knows I ache for him even though my time is limited and like the gentleman he is, he is showing me a way to find him in pockets of time. He is helping me posture my heart like the once swirling trees, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm. I am finding that the simple act of what I eat, what I say, what I think and what I fix my eyes on is worshipful.
The God of the universe who created the earth and every living being takes residence in my heart and how I worship as I write these words. And although lately my worship has been stilled to silence…my song will never cease.
Let the skies sing for joy,
Let the earth join in the chorus,
Let oceans thunder and fields echo this ecstatic praise,
Until every swaying tree of every forest joins in,
Lifting up their songs of joyous praise to him!
Psalm 96 (The Passion Translation)