Tears During Worship Do Not Always Mean Sadness

I have a tendency to break down in tears during worship services. The other week, it was during ‘Heart of Worship’ and last week, it was during ‘You are God Alone’. I have come to realise that though I am not the kind of person who is easily swayed by a song’s rhythm, I am easily struck by lyrics, especially when the words that I would like to tell God are exactly the words that would show up on the projection screen. It is even more stirring when God’s promise of comfort and provision would suddenly come out of a song, making worship an instant answered prayer.

One time, a church friend who noticed my weeping during worship service came up to me and asked, “Are you going through something difficult? Will you be okay?”

I understand where my friend is coming from. It is a normal loving reaction if you see a friend crying while singing alone with head bowed down and both arms high up. And I thank God for people like her who would intentionally comfort someone without being told.

But I smiled and said to her, “Thank you. Promise, I’m all fine”.

My mom noticed my weeping, too. That same day, when we arrived home from church, she asked me with a lambing voice, “Anak, why were you crying earlier? Is there a problem?”

I affirmed that I am not going through something difficult. I told her, “No, mama. It was just me thanking God for His faithfulness”.

True, there are times when I could not help but cry out to God in worship and ask Him to go ahead of me in times of uncertainties and difficulties. After all, whenever we turn to God, He gives us this peace that no worldly comfort can ever give. I remember in the book of 1 Samuel, Hannah, a godly woman, experienced infertility and a disturbing rival-wife problem that was wretchedly complicated. But Hannah’s response was to directly take her burdens, emptiness and sorrow to the Lord. “In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:10).

But tears during prayer and worship do not always mean sadness and helplessness. Most days, tears would mean joy and encouragement in Jesus.

“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!” – Psalm 100:2

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Recently, I encountered a Spirit-led question during worship, “Trudy, if this is the last worship service you are going to attend to, how would you worship the Lord?” I silently answered, “Lord, I will worship You with all that I am. You are on Your throne right now so I will praise You as if this is the last time I’ll have this opportunity”.  That service must have only lasted twenty minutes but it allowed me to encounter God and say what I needed to say to Him.

The presence of the Lord during worship is something I cannot just stand with, lip-sync with or clap my hands a bit with. I am undeserving of His love and mercy yet He is still giving me an opportunity to sing songs for Him. This overflowing gladness is, most of the time, the reason why I shed tears during worship.

Read also: Psalm 33

Don’t get me wrong though. Worship goes beyond the singing and the emotions. Worship is not supposed to be an overly emotional time with God. You do not need to cry to intend security or to “feel the music” all the time to assure His presence. When we worship, God searches deep within our hearts. This is another reason why worshipping God is so beautiful. Worship is also His way of comforting us in times of trouble or convicting us in times of hardened hearts. God wants our honesty more than our musicality. At the end of the day, a spirit-led and spirit-filled worship is all by grace through faith; not by songs through feelings.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him” – John 4:23

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