I used to think that worship had to be happy all the time - jolly smiles, corny songs, and swinging arms with thumbs-up. But that’s not a complete picture of worship.
Yes, the Lord inspires us toward happiness, but it has to come from somewhere. In other words, happiness is a form of appreciation, relief, and joy. Happiness can stem from joy and struggle. Worship occurs not just when we are on top, but, more often, when we are at the bottom - looking up.
It’s like seeing sunshine after the rain, like leaves turning green from winter, the clearing of the fog that leads to the shore. We are happy because we see and experience a resolve or a working of God that is present in our lives.
I have found that happiness comes in the valleys when you look back and see the height over your despair. It’s not your doing, but the grace of God who carried you there. We are human and much of life is difficult. Sometimes, however, I think we skip over the valleys and hurry to the mountaintops.
Worship lives in the valley and on the mountaintop, through the struggle and the victory. It has to because this is where we experience “grace in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Our valley experiences lead us to the One who heals, restores, and forgives. This is why, in Psalm 23, we can walk through the darkest valley and fear no evil. He is the one who stills our hearts like the waters of peace.
Like looking out from the mountaintop, we also find how deep, long, high, and wide the love of Christ is in the midst of our experience (Ephesians 3:18). Remember, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls.” (Psalm 42:7)
The worship of God is like standing in the river. To the thirsty heart and the needy soul, He gives us water to drink. When we immerse ourselves in the river of His grace, we find peace, healing, tranquility, and restoration.
This is the kind of deep worship that springs up in a fountain of joy because of His unfailing love. Worship is not just the mountaintop experience, but it dwells in valleys and resides in the heart of the deep.