I won't sugarcoat it. The adversity I'm talking about this week isn't watered-down. Friends, I'm not talking about the kind of adversity that's accompanied by "enjoyable" pain; like my old training days and the temporary, tough, voluntary and enjoyable pain that I knew would get me to my goals. No, the adversity I'm talking about is the kind many of you are going through. The kind accompanied by a pain you never saw coming. A pain you don't know if you can endure, because you don't know if it will ever end. The kind of pain that's disorienting, because you can't remember what it felt like not to hurt. The kind of pain accompanied by excruciating, debilitating, humiliating misery. Physical, emotional, financial, relational adversity. And it's real.
I've been studying Habakkuk, and this man is a Biblical role model. After sobbing and moaning miserably, screaming for God to work, he learned the brutal Babylonians would soon destroy his homeland. Yet despite his unbearable circumstance, Habakkuk provided us a response to our own: “I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength...(Hab. 3:18). And in the midst of adversity - with chaos swirling about him - we find Habakkuk worshipping.
Looking back 20 years ago, I'd often have Loretta turn up the music from the other room to ready my heart for my training. Two years ago, I begged her each day to turn up the music from the other room to drown out the sound caused by the pain of my infirmity. Same music, same body, different faith. Perhaps like you today, my spirit of enthusiasm characterized my suffering.
Guys, we have permission to hurt. We have Biblical examples of those that hurt so deep - physically, spiritually, emotionally - they wailed. Like me, like you, adversity draws it out of us. It might not be pretty, but it can be the first sound of worship.
For Discussion: Habakkuk sobbed, screamed, then sang. He worried, wailed then worshipped. What an example. Is this week reaching you? What can we pray with you about?