At a recent school chapel, our student worship team led us in singing “Gratitude” by Brandon Lake, a song I’ve heard and sung many times previously. For some reason, singing it this time caused me to pause and really think about the lyrics. The song opens with this line: “All my words fall short, I got nothing new, how could I express all my gratitude?” As someone who’s grown up in the Christian faith, I resonate with that feeling of having nothing new to offer God in response to His goodness and His faithfulness. My gratitude feels like old news; like I should have something more to express just how much I see God at work in my life. And yet, my words fall short. As the song says, some days, all we have is a hallelujah. But that is the beauty of our relationship with God. Our gratitude is enough. Our worship is enough. When we come to the Lord in worship, it’s not old news to Him.
Throughout Scripture, we see worship as the response to both difficult situations and moments of celebration. Paul and Silas worshipped in their prison cell. The widow sacrificed her final pennies as a showing of trust in her Lord. King David erupted in praise when the Ark of the Covenant returned to Jerusalem. I don’t know what this season of life has looked like for you. For some, you may be in a season filled with incredible joys- celebrating an important personal or professional milestone, a vacation in a tropical location, or simply time spent with loved ones. For others, the last few months may have been filled with hardship- the first Christmas without a loved one or the start of another year hoping for God’s answer to a prayer. In all seasons, we can come to the Lord with nothing more than a hallelujah and a heart of gratitude for His presence in our lives. Later in the song, Brandon Lake sings, “I've got one response, I've got just one move, with my arm stretched wide, I will worship You”.
A few Scripture verses that echo this sentiment:
● Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
● Hebrews 12:28, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”
● Psalm 63:3-4, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So, I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”
My prayer for you today is that you can approach our Lord with gratitude, even if “hallelujah” is the only word you can mutter. If you have a few moments today, I encourage you to pull up YouTube, Spotify, or your preferred music streaming service, and listen to “Gratitude.” I hope that these few minutes of worship give you the opportunity to pause and praise God for His faithfulness in your life.
Lord, sometimes we cannot come up with words adequate enough to praise You for the blessings You’ve given us. On the days in which our words fall short, thank you for allowing our hallelujahs to be enough. I pray for the community of saints throughout the Pacific Southwest District, that whether they are in a season of joy or a season of hardship, they can lift up a word of praise to you, for your faithfulness in every season of life.
Emily Eltiste, Crean Lutheran High School, Irvine, CA