Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Come Worship the Lord

If God offered me a choice of any prayer request to be granted instantly, it would be that my mind be permanently freed from "fuming and fretting, worry and hurry." For me, that would be a greater miracle than the healing of an incurable cancer.

The worry-and-fret habit is something of a cancer in itself: it starts small and grows slowly; it's easy to ignore for a while despite warning signs; but if left unchecked, it becomes an all-pervasive nightmare slowly eating away health, energy, even life itself--and when we finally admit that something has to be done, it's nearly always a long, agonizing struggle to get rid of it. Because not only is instant healing as rare as it is wonderful, it almost always comes after the suffering has gone on for a while.

The "worry cancer" has another thing in common with its medical counterpart: when we develop such a problem, it's often largely our own fault. Those who smoke two packs of cigarettes a day are more likely to get lung cancer. Those who stuff themselves with junk food to the point of obesity are more likely to get cancer in their digestive systems. And those who constantly tell themselves "I can't live without this.... I couldn't live with that" are extremely likely to develop the fear-filled mind that is at the root of all fretful and frantic behavior. This is one "illness" that always includes an element of real sin; every worry is based to some degree in the fear of life's not going our way, which is really idolatry--the placing of our own desires at the top of the priority list and the refusal to believe that God can and will do what is best for us. (See Mt. 6:25-34.)

I'm not unsympathetic with those who, whether through natural temperament or the temptations of unusually painful or stressful lives, are more prone than others to develop the worry habit--I have a redwood-sized log in my own eye there. I have, however, learned enough to know that our eyes are a big part of the problem. Remember that, immediately before the "do not worry" passage referenced above, comes the one about not hoarding earthly treasures, about not trying to serve worldly masters along with God--and about focusing our spiritual eyes to let in light rather than darkness? Because the truth is that it's impossible to worry if we are really looking at God and His attributes--His love, power, beauty, and majesty--but most of us prefer the narrow, close-up focus on our immediate circumstances.

The best cure for worry is to spend more time, not only asking God for help, but praising Him for what He is and thanking Him for the things He has done and the things He has promised. Which is why I have devoted this week's poem to worship and adoration.

Come worship the Lord, and give Him your praise--
The Master of time; the Maker of days.
He had no beginning; He will have no end;
And all living things on His nurture depend.

Come worship the Lord, Who stretched out the skies,
Who made every thing that walks, swims, or flies.
He laid out the ocean; He brought forth the land;
And every green thing draws its growth from His hand.

Come worship the Lord, Who leads us in love:
Outlasting all time, He reigns from above.
Earth's empires, though mighty, will pass with the years;
But God's Heavenly Rule outlasts all mortal spheres.

Come worship the Lord, Who sits above all
As King on a throne that never can fall.
Though all lesser powers stand opposed to His reign,
His Power over all shall one day be made plain.

Come worship the Lord, and bow to His rule;
Do not scorn His power and stand with the fool,
Nor serve Him unwillingly, bitter with dread;
But choose Him in love and proclaim Him as Head.

Come worship the Lord: for all of His might,
His touch is so soft, His pressure so light.
Our God is no tyrant abusing His power;
No, He plans our lives with great blessings to shower.

Come worship the Lord; rejoice in His love:
Delight in the peace He sends from above.
When His Kingdom comes, at the end of all days,
At last we shall know the full joy of His praise.

3 comments:

Judith Robl said...

Katherine,

Do you have the music for this invitational hymn? It's beautiful!

Emily M. Akin, writer-editor said...

This song can be sung to the tune of "O Worship the King," which can be found in most hymnals.

Katherine Swarts said...

Thanks, Emily. That was exactly the tune I was thinking of when I wrote this poem. --Katherine