I remember when a close friend of mine was going through a season of turmoil and pain. His brother had just died from cancer at a young age. Other relational challenges were happening as well that were causing him to feel extremely isolated and depressed. And to top it all off he was under immense spiritual warfare through this extremely difficult time in his life.
What could I say? He lived in another country, I couldn’t be there for him physically, and no amount of warm words was going to do the trick. He needed comfort, he needed direction, he needed restoration, but most of all he needed healing in his heart.
I had recently been through my own season of darkness, but God had begun to heal my heart in a huge way. Through my own journey of restoration, I was learning that deep heart healing in the midst of inner turmoil can come to us in one of the most surprising, unexpected ways – through worshiping God.
Worshiping God Helps Heal the Heart
As I sent my dear friend an email, searching for something that might help his wounded heart, I decided to take a risk and just share what I had been learning, though I still did not fully comprehend it all:
Here’s a crazy piece of advice, but one that I believe is ripped for the pages of Scripture. In these times of pain, when it feels like there is no hope . . . worship.
It does not make sense, but to worship in these times brings life to the very core of our being. When there seems to be no hope and all has been taken away, worship. It really helps. Listen to worship songs, or sing with some worship music you like, or go to a church with a good worship leader, or worship in prayer. I don’t really know why it helps so much, just do it, it works. Just fall face down and worship. It’s crazy, it’s absurd, it does not make logical sense, but God honors it and it’s been deeply healing to me. Somehow it makes things right. Our hearts need it. God’s heart loves it.”
Certainly we can explain healing theologically. For God ultimately heals our hearts through the gospel of Jesus Christ. But to be saved by the gospel is to be saved for worshiping God. No amount of theological explanations will do. Without raw worship, we will never be able to feel how God heals the heart personally.
I think worship is so central to healing because worship must involve the heart. You can’t worship God with your intellect. You can serve him intellectually, but worship must involve the real you, your core, otherwise known as “your heart.”
Jesus quoted from Isaiah when he said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). Their hearts were far from God, thus their worship was done in vain.
To worship God, your heart must be engaged. To engage your heart with God always brings healing.
If You Are Wounded, You Are Primed to Worship
It may not feel like it in the moment, but the wounded heart is primed for worship. Job had lost it all: his possessions, his livestock, and even all his children. And then it states, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’” (Job 1:20-21).
David had created his own worst nightmare. He had turned from God when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, he had hurt people he loved, and now an innocent baby had died because of his sin. Then it states, “And David said to his servants, ‘Is the child dead?’ They said, ‘He is dead.’ Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped” (2 Samuel 12:19-20).
What did these men know? They knew that when you are broken inside, the only thing left to do is worship. It makes no logical sense. Why would you worship when someone you love has been taken from you? Why would you worship when you have rebelled against God and you are consumed with depression because you have now come to your senses and realize how foolish you were? Why would you worship God when you are heartbroken because a romantic relationship failed in your life? Why does worship have power to help heal the wounded heart?
I don’t fully know. Maybe it’s because worship restores us to our real purpose in life. Maybe it’s because to worship from the heart is to be in the intimate presence of the Lord. Maybe it’s because worship is an active expression of faith that fights off the doubt about God, his sovereignty, and his love for you. I don’t exactly know why worshiping God has such power to heal a broken heart.
I just know that it does.
(For more Bible verses on worship, read: John 4:23, 1 Peter 2:9, Psalm 84:4, Psalm 33:1-3, Acts 16:25).