Recently, as I spent time with the Lord, a phrase came to my mind: "Worship through it." At first, I just pushed the thought aside, but I kept hearing those same three words - "worship through it" - repeating in my mind. I sat for a few minutes, just letting that thought turn through my mind and my heart, then picked up my guitar and started playing. As I played, I thought about the book of Psalms and how, in a number of them, David is crying out to the Lord and complaining about his circumstances. But, he always ends up speaking words of praise. I grabbed my Bible and started searching for examples.
In Psalm 13, David lists his complaints, even asking God if He will forget him forever. Then, in verse 5, he begins with a very small but important word - but! The psalm then goes from complaints to praise. David says, in effect, "Lord, have You forgotten me? I'm really struggling right now and my enemy has the upper hand. Without Your help, I will fall and my enemy will celebrate, BUT I trust in You, Lord. Your love never fails and You have come through for me in the past, so I am going to sing to You because You are so good to me."
In Psalm 42, we again see David discouraged and depressed. But twice he asks himself why - "Why am I so discouraged? Why am I depressed? After all, I have hope that comes from God. So, here's what I will do--I will praise Him!"
As I read through these psalms, I was reminded of Paul and Silas in Acts, chapter 16. They had been beaten badly and thrown into prison where they were placed in chains. They could easily have sat there in despair, complaining about their circumstances, but (there's that word again!) instead they chose to pray and worship the Lord. We know what happened next - not only did their chains fall of and the doors to the prison open, but the jailer and his family gave their hearts to the Lord!
God was reminding me that, when things look bleak, when we are discouraged or depressed, when life seems to be just one trial after another, we need to "worship through it." When we do, our hearts are lifted to him, our eyes focus on Him rather than our circumstances, and our chains - those things that are weighing us down - are broken.