WG09 – Worship in the Valley

For the second afternoon session on Thursday afternoon, Matt Mason led a session on worshiping God even through trials and sufferings.  Being the pastor of a church in New Orleans, he told firsthand of the trials they went through during Hurricane Katrina and how the entire church there learned to minister to one another even in a time of great suffering.  To be able to endure hardships, we must have a heart-orientation toward God.  Mason quoted John Owen:

“Men love to trust God (as they profess) for what they have in their hands, in possession, or what lies in an easy view; place their desires afar off, carry their accomplishment behind the clouds in their sight, interpose difficulties and perplexities – their hearts are instantly sick.  They cannot wait for God; they do not trust Him, nor ever did.  Would you have the presence of God with you?  Learn to wait quietly for the salvation you expect from Him.” (John Owen, “God’s Presence with a People the Spring of Their Prosperity”, Sermons of John Owen)

The main takeaway from this was actually in a question and answer time afterward.  Someone asked the question of what to do or how to help someone who may be going through a difficulty and quite honestly isn’t ready for a theological lesson.  The Bible says to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.  Sometimes, it is simply enough to listen and pray with those who are struggling.  Too often we are ready to launch into “Romans 8:28 mode” – while these truths are certainly still true, sometimes it is wiser to listen and empathize.  Additionally, we can serve them even in our praying for them by reminding God of His promises to us, and the individual listening may be encouraged while listening to you pray.

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