Guest posting by Renee Dallas
Note from Joe: I’ve received a number of messages from wives asking for help dealing with their own pain over their husband’s behavior, so thought I’d let my own wife Renee respond with some ideas she has on the subject, since she runs a ministry to wives. For more articles by Renee, and for more information on her work, go to wifeboat.com.
Personal Worship and Healing
I have taught on the subject of worship and healing ever since I worked for a Christian music company that specifically focused on worship. But I’ve also drawn heavily on my own experiences and those of the women I’ve worked with through the years. I’m reposting this article in the hope that you’ll find something that speaks to you and will help you draw nearer to the Source of Healing.
I learned this during the time I worked through the pain of my first husband’s betrayal, years before I met Joe: personal worship leads to healing. At first I was so numb; the jarring realization of what had happened left me wounded, grieving and hopeless. But as I found myself murmuring vague prayers reaching out to God, I was drawn to the music of praise. During this time of personally connecting with the Lord, the most meaningful healing happened for me—soul-to soul in that place where only He could reach, I heard Him communicate His love for me.
Paradox of Praise in Pain
It seems paradoxical to praise God when your whole life has been turned upside down. But pain can create a thirst in us that drives us to connect with the Creator who alone has the ability to give comfort and meaning. David talked about this in the Psalms when he wrote:
“As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2
Reframing Our Thinking, Changing Our Hearts
This means a lot when you consider how bound up we can be in pain that we lose our perspective. The Psalms are full of examples of praise to God in times of turbulence and confusion. In Psalm 73 we find David discouraged and angry at the injustice he observed all around him. In fact, he admitted to being envious of arrogant prideful people who seemed to have everything going for them except a conscience.
And so he entered the sanctuary of God (v. 17) and his perceptions were corrected. He emerged with a new understanding of reality from God’s viewpoint:
“When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You. Yet, I am always with You. You hold me by your right hand. You guide me with Your counsel and afterward you will take me to glory.” Psalm 72: 26
David’s heart changed from bitterness to trust and reliance as he realized God’s ultimate authority over injustice and God’s goodness towards him personally. He concluded:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”. v 26
So much that’s happening in our lives can be bleak and seem insurmountable, just like David’s did. But rather than wait for the circumstances to change, he went into the sanctuary.
A Temple Not Made with Hands
As New Testament believers we no longer need to enter into a building or rely on a priest to worship God. We are able to connect with God one-to-one through the work of Jesus. His death tore down the veil of separation between God and man and He ever lives to intercede for us! (Hebrews 10:19-20, Matt. 27:51) Through the work of the Holy Spirit we ourselves have access to the inner court of God–our own private sanctuary where we meet Him to worship. (Ephesians 2:22, I Corinth 6:19)
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would be our Comforter and Counselor in John 14:16-17:
“And I will give you another Counselor to be with your forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (Emphasis added)
Since we don’t have an outward building how do we enter into that ‘building not made with hands” and worship God? My preferred way is to use a combination of reading scripture and the music of praise and worship. With those tools, I try to keep in mind three things: Focus-Consider-Vocalize
When we focus on God’s greatness rather than our own problems and weaknesses it puts things in their proper perspective. “Psalms often describe the person of God, his sublime attributes” says Ron Allen in his book Praise a Matter of Life and Breath. He says “To praise the name of God is to say something right about God. When we say “God is good”, we’re praising His Name.” RC Sproul, in his book Knowing God describes praise as “noting God’s nature and character as His Word and works reveal it.”
So the first step in entering in is to focus on Him and not us.
As we focus on His attributes, it naturally leads us to consider God’s history with us. What has He done in your life? How has He provided for you? What specific times can you identify God meeting you in tangible answers to prayer?
Next, what do you feel God inviting you to do? Enter in, obey, and trust? Repent? When we begin to focus on the attributes of God and come into the light as He is in the light (I John 1:7) we often become aware of something He is asking us to do, believe or receive. This is the time to consider what those are and commit to them as necessary.
Speaking and singing aloud involve recognition and rejoicing in the love He has shown you and it draws you into fellowship with Him. Your words have the power of faith and affirmation.
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” Ephesians 5:19-20
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise— the fruit of our lips that confess His name.” Hebrews 13:15
“It is written, “I believed, therefore I have spoken” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.” 2 Corinth 4:13
Praise Puts Victory and Healing in Sight
Psalm 116 is one the most intimate declarations of love for the Lord. The Psalmist outlines his grief and trouble, how God answered prayers with such goodness that He could not do anything else but vocalize his praise to God for everyone to hear. (Psalm 116:18-19) The take-away for us is an encouragement that we too, can find rest, peace and healing when we call on the Lord in worship.
“Yet there is one common element… the concept of praise. No matter how intense the heart at the beginning of a Psalm of pain, ultimately the Psalm will lead to praise.” Ron Allen, Praise: A Matter of Life and Breath
MORE: If you would like to read more articles from Renee, please visit WifeBoat.com.