A Call To The Heights

phone off the hook on floor

The article Entrusted for Worship was about an aspect of worship that goes completely counter to our natural instinct to survive.  We all have an innate drive to live.  Hold me under the water for just a few seconds and watch me fight to breathe. But today I want to show you through a living example the sheer power and force of what is unleashed when we worship God in our pain rather than lash out. A call to the heights.

It was the morning of October 17, 2000.  It was a beautiful fall day. The air was crisp and clean and the sky was remarkably blue.  The long summer was over, and now the North Georgia mountains could display their beautiful color.  My phone rang and it was Martha. “Can you help us get ready? Robyn has been in a car accident, and we need to get there as soon as possible!” Robyn was Scott’s wife (Martha’s oldest son), an exquisite and attractive woman whose smile was delightful.

I rushed to Martha’s home and walked in to help Martha and her husband.  She greeted me at the door and then began to tell me what we needed to do.  As we stood in the foyer the phone rang.  I will never forget the moments that preceded this ring.  It was like time slowed so I would grasp what was about to transpire.

I patiently stood, as I naturally would, waiting for Martha to address the caller and then hang up.  But as I looked at her face I saw a pain and anguish emerge.  This was no typical call.  At this point I knew Robyn had died. Later I found out that her internal injuries were extensive and she hadn’t survived the crash.

I didn’t speak; I just stared as her tears began to flow.  “Jesus, Jesus,” I thought for I was paralyzed!  I continued to watch as she tearfully hung up the phone and threw it into a chair. I wasn’t even there in Martha’s thoughts. She just fell to the floor and screamed, “OH GOD, I PRAISE YOU!” For the next several minutes I watched as Martha bowed her will to a God she trusted.  I was witnessing a transaction that was wrought with emotion.  She forcibly yielded her right to understand or even survive what she heard.  I didn’t dare intrude on this holy ground.  She was transacting with the real Father.

Over the minutes, hours, days and months that followed I saw an amazing grace and Presence that was nothing less than supernatural.  Scott had grace as well as the rest of the family.  It is not that there wasn’t pain and tears but the devastation of a young woman plucked in the prime of life wasn’t evident.  And what I attribute this to is the transaction between the Lord and Martha in those first few minutes.

When we thank God and release an event to His sovereign plan, it frees Him to move on the situation. It gives Him ownership of what is already His. Martha’s transaction was worship!  No, there was no singing but there was a Gethsemane bowing. And isn’t that the true purpose of worship, to bow before the King of Kings?

So as we journey through this fallen world, where we are not given a pass for pain-free living, know that the Master of all is not unaffected or uninvolved with our suffering. He knows our agonies and needs only the entrée of our worship to invite Him to affect the situation. We are the stewards of our life but He is the LIFE.  The difference between Him involved by our invitation and us wrestling it out in frustration is the difference between Light and darkness.

I don’t support a Pollyanna approach to life.  Martha’s dealing was clearly not that at all.  And in the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ sweated blood, those drops were worship of a Father.  True worship is not only smiles and joyful singing but also a ruthless demand of the flesh – with no compromise – to bow to God as God.

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    • Sam

      Thank you!

    • pearl

      So inspiring, our Hope Ladies Group just lost a dear friend this past week.
      We are all grieving and I was wondering and thinking about why…since she was not even 60 years old… I love Martha’s response and it will be mine now…bless you guys

    • Sandy

      I read. I cried.

    • Roddy Young

      hI John ,

      This is similar to experience that happened to my brother and long standing friend . He has 6 children . His first born and eldest daughter was killed in a car crash at the age of 19 along with her friend . I was with him moments after the Police had came to the door to tell him the terrible news his beloved daughter had died . I held this beautiful person in my arms when she was born , watched her blossom into a beautiful young women and as a pole bearer with her father we buried her in the ground . Immediately after the news i was with my freind and his wife sitting at his kitchen table in stunned silence . At these moments you cant fake your response . My freind looked at me with this incredible look of pain in his eyes and uttered these words , he said Roddy the lord gives and the lord takes away , blessed be the name of the Lord . He then said i feel like a knife has been stuck into my heart but i know the hand that put it there . This experience had a profound impact on me , it was one of those moments where you know a divine transaction is going on with that person and the lord , you can only be in awe . . To say the give gives and the lord takes away can be a trite cliche , but to say at moments like this , blessed be the name of the lord is something else . It is , as you say the ultimate act of worship to yeild your broken heart and offended flesh in praise at that moment . There is something to be learned about blessing the lord and others that frees us from the snare of offence . This is grace at work in the trenches of misfortune .

    • Debra Sandstrom

      Thank you John. A living word to remind and encourage at just the right time. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
      In settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

    • Barb

      I read. I cried. Wow!

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