I recently returned from a trip to Africa to share the Gospel with my “new friends” who are a part of the unreached people of the world. In fact, 100% of the people of this community are Muslim, which makes it somewhat difficult in the sharing process. However, after 4 years of continual visits to the same people, in the the same village, doing the same exact thing (loving on them like Jesus loves us),our efforts have been blessed by a merciful God and we have made huge, gigantic, wonderful in-roads into their lives and community. For example: the chief of the village offered to give us land to build a home right beside him. [If you know someone who has the finances to support this, please tell them to contact me–it will cost about $14k USD.]
The team that went with me this year was a great group of brothers and sisters in Christ, and they worked diligently for 11 days–all the time sharing their testimonies, the love of Jesus and “storying” through the Bible from Creation to the Cross. It was an amazing time! Yet, on my last day of the trip, I became extremely ill…more sick than I have felt in a long time (and equally as bad as the time I had the H1N1 Flu back in 2009)-fever, chills, and thoughts of having my body spontaneously combust. The worst part of it was thinking, “I am the team leader…I have to get these people back to the States to their families, and I have to get back to my family.” In fact, for a brief time, returning home became my top-priority…despite how I was physically feeling. At one point, I remember that I curled up in the fetal position at the airport, and prayed, “Lord, just let me get back home without dying.” It really was that bad. What I wanted to do, was sleep it off for a few days, and catch a later flight to the US…but, I knew I had to keep pressing on despite how I was feeling.
This is the same thing we have to do in our spiritual walk, keep pressing on (Philippians 3:12-17). You know as well as I do that there are days, weeks, and even entire seasons of our life that we don’t feel up to worshipping. There are a variety of reasons for this: sickness, anger, tiredness, loss of job, death in the family, depression, or even the existence of sin in our lives. However, in scripture we are reminded that even when we don’t “feel like it,” we should be praising and living our lives in a way that reflect the words of the Psalmist:
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)
THE BEST example we see of this is Jesus: our Savior was dying on the cross, uttering the words, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”…He never gave up the fight. He did just the opposite–He completed what He came to do and uttered the words, “It is finished,” and then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
So concluding, what I really learned in Africa was that even though we had a great time of singing with the children, sharing stories from the Gospels, eating out of the same bowl as our friends (which was probably a direct contribution to my sickness), drinking the most wonderful hot tea, and even a layover in Paris…I could not quit because I got sick…people’s lives depended
on me striving to continue. And more importantly, your life’s reflection of Jesus (and how you worship Him) will be a lasting testimony for others who need to see the Truth of how great He is, even on the days when it is difficult!
How do you worship, even when you don’t feel like it?