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An act of worship that hurts

I received some advice once. It was “give it back to God.”

That advice really began to come alive at a concert I was at couple of weeks ago. MercyMe was closing out the night with a song called “Bring the Rain.”

God was wrecking me through this song. ;)

The chorus goes something like this:

Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

During this song, God gave me a new take on the story of Abraham and Isaac.

There are times when God asks you to surrender the very things He’s given you. The very things you hold dearest and closest to you.

In the case of Abraham, God asked him to sacrifice Isaac. The same son Abraham had waited 20 years to conceive. The same son that Abraham had raised as a boy and understood to be part God’s promise to him.

The thing closest to your heart.

White-knuckled and protective. The thing you hold the tightest.

“Give it back to God.”

It hurts. There’s turmoil. Inner pain. Rampant emotions.

But should we expect anything less? God expects our very best. He wants our first fruits. Why wouldn’t he also want whats dearest to us?

What struck me about the song was the line “But if that’s what it takes to bring You praise.”

If my pain brings You praise. If my sacrifice brings You praise.

Then Jesus, “Bring me anything that brings You glory.”

We may focus on the hurt it brings us. But is our hurt not an act of worship?

You want to fight it. You want to make sure it never really leaves your hands. The flesh wants to retain control. You look around. Maybe there’s a way out.

There is. “Give it back to God.” Freely and completely. Complete surrender and sacrifice.

It is worship that hurts.

Abraham worshiped God in this way. The power of this story is that God returned the sacrifice back to Abraham.

If I were Abraham, I probably would’ve cried afterwards.

You know why?

I knew what I was about to do would have hurt me in a ridiculous way. I knew how badly I wanted to modify God’s plan (even just slightly) so that the hurt would be less. I knew the internal struggle my spirit had with my flesh and how drained I was.

But . . . I sacrificed willingly and completely. I worshiped God with my pain.

I would have cried knowing God had returned it back and it was untouched and unblemished by me. Instead it was purified and accepted by God.

It had God’s approval on it.

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Bart Millard

Thanks for the great words, and I’m glad the song touched you.

-bart