I’m sure a lot of us have probably heard something to the extent of “praise God in good or bad circumstances.” We read stories about it, in the Bible or in other places. We sing songs about it. We hear it preached like a bandaid over our deepest pains or a clap on the back for our exhilaration. And while both are true, I think there is a place we miss when we focus on worshipping from both good and bad places.
We often forget that there is a middle ground. In our head the world undulates between extremes, when in reality it is mostly normal, everyday moments that fill our lives. The big things may change us, but the time in between is equally as important. The years we spend looking for a significant other is longer than the day we get married. We spend more minutes in a classroom than the one we finally get to graduate. The hours spent in doctor’s waiting rooms usually far exceed the minutes spent getting a diagnosis. The big moments that cause ecstasy or pain in our lives are almost always proceeded by periods of waiting.
So what do we do with that? When we are anticipating answers, looking forward to the next decision, or just going through life wondering what the next big experience will be?
The answer seems so simple. But it can feel so complicated when you’re in the middle of it. How do we worship in the wondering? In the anticipation? In the mundane?
One of my favorite Bible stories about waiting is about Hannah. You can read the whole story in 1 Samuel 1, but basically she had no children. Her life was not terrible by any means. Her husband loved her greatly, she was safe and protected, and she knew God was there for her. But she wanted children, and she waited patiently for them. She was faithful, and she asked God to see her in her waiting. And in 1 Samuel 1:20, God gave her a son. And he would grow up to do great things.
Hannah, along with several other people in the Bible, are great examples for us to follow.
In the questions we can lean in. We can open up a real conversation with Jesus. We can tell him our longings and desires. We can ask Him what he would have us do. We can practice trusting his plan and His answers.
In the mundane, we can rest. We can thank God for the predictability. We can breathe in the routine He is allowing. We can praise Him for the time he is giving us to prepare for the next big moment.
In the waiting, we can find His peace. We can share our fears and worries with Him. We can use the extra time He gives us to praise Him. We can look to Him and allow Him to make us patient.
Most of us have experienced quite a bit of waiting over the last year. We’ve waited for test results. We’ve waited for decisions from people in charge. We’ve questioned the things going on around us. We’ve adjusted to a new mundane, some of us multiple times. And likely, we will continue to do so, long past this pandemic. The question is, will we worship through those times? Will we be like Hannah?