Sitting in church a couple of weeks ago I was simply too tired to stand for the singing time. This isn't at all uncommon - I sit through music time more often than I'm able to stand. (There were years when I rarely could leave the house to attend church at all, so just being able to be there is HUGE!) But as I am sitting I am usually singing and Signing (Sign Language) and stiving to give my whole heart over to worship.
Unfortunately, I started having asthma attacks about 3 years ago and I've found singing to be a frequent trigger. So on weeks when I can't sing either, I grab my inhailer, stop the asthma attack in its tracks, and consentrate on joining in musical worship through Sign. Recently I've found my arms to "heavy" and the pain too instense even to Sign consistantly. So a couple of weeks ago I sat there in church feeling very dejected and asking the Lord what I had left to give. How I could participate in corporate worship when I had nothing left to offer, no strenght to stand, no breath to sing, no ability to even lift my hands in praise?
Though not the song being sung that morning, He immediately reminded me of the words of Matt Redman's song, "The Heart of Worship" (view on uTube link below). A few of the lines are:
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless your heart...
I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, Jesus...
What a great reminder that everything else is external (physical strength, the gifts of voice and hands, every breath I draw) but true worship, like true beauty, is internal. When everything else is stripped away, I am still of worth, I can still be whole, because of who Jesus Christ is. He is worthy of all I am, all I have to offer, even when my offerings are meager.
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17 (NIV)
If you or someone you love is struggling with health issues, check out Rest Ministries, a wonderful organization providing support and encourgement in the face of any and every kind of chronic health challenge. This group was started by a friend of mine and has grown into an international ministry offering local support group chapters, a print magazine and many forms of online support including daily email devotionals, message bords and much more.
(If you are reading this via email and can't view the video, be sure to drop by the Given Me a Thorn Blog to see this beautiful video for yourself.)
"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."
- Psalm 73:26 (New International Version)