– John 19:38-42 NIV
True worship doesn’t put on a show or make a fuss; true worship isn’t forced, isn’t half-hearted, doesn’t keep looking at its watch, doesn’t worry what the person in the next pew is doing. True worship is open to God, adoring God, waiting for God, trusting God even in the dark. – N. T. Wright
It was a day of rest, the Sabbath. And Jesus’ body was laid to rest in a borrowed grave. But His disciples were anything but restful. Their hearts were broken, their hope was demolished and their fears were coming true. Because their Master was gone, and with Him their memory of His promise for what lay on the other side.
Of course, His promise was alive and well… but His body was dead.
Under the surface of all they could see, much was happening. Eternity was stirring. The devil was screaming, hell was being harrowed and Jesus was winning. But they could not see this. All they could see was defeat, and all they could feel was loss. But Peter’s life-altering words still rang true: where else could they go? Jesus had the words of eternal life. And since they couldn’t hear His voice, they had nowhere else to go. So they waited.
Maybe this is a place you’ve been before. Maybe you’re there now. Waiting. Waiting for a promise to come true. Even if you are not there now, you will be there someday. We all travel this road at some point, for the road to resurrection always passes through the valley of death. So if you’re going to have to wait, then wait well.
Worship in the waiting.
It is through worship that our eyes are opened. In the waiting, our vision can be hijacked, making us miss the forest for the trees. God’s promises are eternal – so we must worship to see past this temporal state into the eternal reality.
Extravagant worship is the only kind of worship taking place in heaven; there is no half-hearted or distracted worship around God’s throne. When we actively place our focus on Jesus and declare the truth of who He is, we join the hosts of heaven – the ones who see Him more clearly than we can here on earth – in allowing Him to take His rightful place in our hearts: in the center, on the throne. When Jesus is given His exalted place in the center, everything else takes its humble place around Him: our joys and heartbreaks, our temptations and aspirations, our relationships and even our enemy, the devil.
You are everything You’ve promisedYour faithfulness is trueWe’re desperate for Your presenceAll we need is YouWaiting here for YouWith our hands lifted high in praiseAnd it’s You we adoreSinging alleluia– Waiting Here For You, Tomlin/Reeves/Smith
Waiting for God with our hands lifted in praise – this is waiting well. And it is all over the Bible. The Hebrew word YADAH means “hands to God,” and “to throw the hands” as a response to God’s faithfulness. We often find David lifting his hands to the faithfulness of God while waiting for Him in the darkest places in life.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise [YADAH] Him, my Savior and my God.
– Psalm 42:11
Today, be more than a casual bystander. Lift your hands and your heart to heaven and use many words of adoration. Tell Him that You love Him over and over again. Thank Him for His faithfulness to you. Here’s an extravagant idea: play a worship song that stirs your heart to God and keep your hands lifted in praise for the duration of the song.
At the moment, we live in the Kingdom of the now and the not yet. Let’s wait well. Let’s worship extravagantly in the waiting.
- Here I Bow – Jenn Johnson
- Stay and Wait – Hillsong United
- Holy Ground (feat. Melodie Malone) – Passion
- Psalm 13 (Live) – Shane & Shane
Check out all of the extravagant worship devotionals here.
By James Mark Gulley, Worship Pastor