We all come to various crossroads in our lives. Some of these crossroads may be expected and some, most definitely, are not. Sometimes it dawns on us, belatedly, that we have been driving in circles or just spinning our wheels, going nowhere, and we are ready to move on. Do we stay on the familiar road or believe the GPS and take a totally new route? Failing that direction shall we go left, shall we turn right? Often we know that the Lord has led us to a particular spot only to be left tapping our foot in impatience. “What now, Lord? Come on!” Waiting is never the option that comes easily, at least for me.
Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz was told to follow her yellow brick road yet, then discovered that her brightly colored path forks with no signage to lead her on her way. Was there a better or best route to take, a witch- proof short-cut? Would all roads have led her to Emerald City? Had Dorothy taken the left hand turn she would have still met the Scarecrow but she may not have encountered the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion and the story would have taken a decisive turn in another direction. Of course, we will never know. We do know that through the rigors of her journey Dorothy discovered that she was truly grateful for the same friends, family and situations that she had found intolerable and run away from in the Dust Bowl of her previous life.
As a young man, David was abruptly pulled out of the back pasture and unexpectedly anointed in front of his family by the High Priest Samuel as the next King of Israel. Strengthened and emboldened by this supernatural anointing he slew a big scary Giant as two armies looked on in amazement. Later, his musical gift of worship was the only thing able to calm King Saul who was increasingly influenced by the demonic. Brave, humble, talented, obedient, polite and Godly, David seemed to have all his spiritual ducks in a row. However, rather than reaping the immediate rewards of a grateful nation and king, David was soon on the run for his life! King Saul, blinded by his own pride and rebellion, and threatened by David’s favor before God and was seeking to rid himself of this young, upstart rival. David was chased and hunted for years: Forced to hide in the wilderness he was stripped of his friends, family, natural habitat, and his ordinary comfort zone. Where was his career? Where was his prize?
Where were the accolades and admiration that the prophet had promised? As we read through the book of Psalms we often see that his discouragement is palpable. Had he misread God’s purpose or jumped ahead, running on his own path? I don’t think so.
Just think, would David have been the same compassionate man, the best leader if he hadn’t gone through those interminable dark years? Would he have learned to trust the Lord in every aspect if everything had always been skittles and rainbows? Could his eloquence have been so heartfelt in the 23rd Psalm describing the Valley of the Shadow of Death had he never felt the chill wind of despair and isolation? Who can say if he would have had the same passion to return the Ark of Testimony to Jerusalem if his own testimony had not been so powerful, so personal. Would his need to establish 24 hour worship and reliance on the prophetic been such a deep burn in his spirit had the Lord not forged this beautiful relationship in the fire of those years of exile? Unlikely.
You and I may not have such Goliath- sized drama or have an earthly throne waiting when the trial is over but, we’ve all had trouble. Perhaps you are just in a new stage of life and wonder what God’s plan is in this next season for you. Perhaps your family is some sort of crisis and they try every remedy but refuse to see that total trust in the King of Kings is the only viable route. Maybe you are in the middle of an enormous self- inflicted mess. Mired in guilt, you wonder how on earth you could have been so blind and have gotten so de-railed, so far from God’s purpose for your life. Forgive yourself. Sometimes it is the Believer who has felt bulletproof, perhaps felt a certain pride in their relationship with Christ, that are left spinning and baffled when real hardship comes a- calling. Tell him you are sorry, quit doing what you are doing and replace that behavior with Worship! Praise God that He is a God of second chances and move it on down the road!
But life does happen! Satan loves to target the Lord’s anointed and mess with our heads! For now, we live cheek-by-jowl to the world’s sinful mud-lolly. It is ever so easy to edge too close and linger there too long, and wind up slimed in the process. (even when we know better!) Our heart’s dreams can be crushed easily and in so many ways. Will you praise His name no matter what happens? If His timing doesn’t meet your schedule or expectations will you still be available to be used or will you move on under your own steam without his leading? Will you praise Him if things don’t go the way you had planned, or your children, spouse, health or checkbook don’t meet your dream expectations? Will you praise Him, regardless?
Remember the old joke when the lost person asked,” How Do I get to Carnegie Hall?” and was told to “Practice, Practice, Practice”! So it is with Worship. Begin developing that essential heart of worship now before the hard tests come. Teach your children to do the same. Habitually praise Him for Good, bad, tragic, heartrending or terrifying. Giftwrap whatever it is, return it to Him and Thank Him for what ever it is. We may not be able to see the purpose. Learn what you can from any situation, accept that you may never understand the why’s and the wherefores, but leave the bitterness and the anger at your crossroads. Learn to sing His praises from the chains of whatever prison you see yourself in and allow the Lord to really be Your Lord. Intentionally choose Joy.
I encourage you to read and soak up Psalm 27. These 14 little verses illustrate what to do when you are at the end of yourself and totally dependent on Him. When you are scared out of your wits will you, can you, trust it all to the Lord and make, as the King James calls it, “sacrifices of Joy” and sing your praises to the Lord? Will you be able to count it all Joy when everything in your world is shaken to the core? Trusting in His Love can seem as though we are wasting valuable time. Waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing with a worshipful heart, as we see in verse 14 may seem like a difficult, unlikely road. However, when we practice, the journey is rich and the view from the top is spectacular!
*Read about the life of David in 1 Samuel 16 onward. 1 Chronicles 16:4-6 is the first place we see the establishment of his 24/7 worship plan before the Ark. More formal establishment of this is found in 1 Chronicles 25:1