This morning, I talked with the guys at our men’s discipleship breakfast about the power of worship I experienced while Karen and I were on our cruise last week. It was amazing because everywhere I looked, I saw the magnificence of God’s creation: ocean in every direction, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, cloud formations planted right into the distant, watery horizon. It was breath-taking. At every moment, I found myself engulfed in worship, praising God for His majesty and the display of His nature right there before me to see.
I am reminded of Psalm 19 where David must have been in one of these type situations in nature as the worship of God burst forth from the depths of his soul:
19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
An interesting thing happened to me as a result of this spontaneous worship I experienced aboard ship: I was “sucked into” the very presence of God and put into a place where I was able to experience some things over the next few days I don’t think I would have been prepared for otherwise.
God took me on a journey for the next several days aboard ship and during our ports of call, where I was exposed to some of the most horrible injustices and poverty I’ve ever seen. My heart broke as I listened to stories of the ship’s staff of their families back home, the long months away from them so that they can escape the poverty that engulfs their homelands and provide a living for their families. I saw scum-filled areas in Jamaica where people are subjected to abject poverty. My stomach was turned as I watched rich vacation-goers (which included all of us!) eat as much as possible and then send the rest to the trash by servers who can only imagine having such luxuries, probably wishing their families back home could have the left-overs. The contrasts were shocking.
Though I experienced a great time of refreshing and relaxation on vacation, it wasn’t an escape. Through the worship that I experienced, being sucked into the presence and reality of God, I was taken on a journey of discovery, where my eyes were opened and my life was changed. It is interesting to see how God can and will often take something intended for our own purposes and use it for His purpose and glory…and it most often comes through the power of worship.