Everyone has times when their “hallelujahs” are broken; i.e. they grieve, yet still worship. For some, their worship may look and sound the same while their heart is broken. For others, the words, music and energy won’t come for a spell. They are worshiping in silence as they process their grief. They may be soaking in the worship they are hearing. A lump in the throat may prevent the escape of words even if they tried. A groan might be the only sound for them. For still others, the worship of grief may start slow and crescendo. There are many biblical characters who grieved and worshiped. Job lost all of his children in one day, he stood up, tore his robe, shaved his head and fell to the ground and worshiped, saying in effect, ‘I came into this world with nothing, it’s not mine to hold onto. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’ I’m betting those words were poured out in heaving sobs as he lay on the ground. Jacob mourned for Joseph many days and refused to be comforted. Hannah accompanied her husband to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice, but because she was barren her “worship” came out in a torrent of silent bitter brokenhearted prayers, which God heard and answered. David mourned as he prayed for his child Bathsheba bore him, but worshiped after he knew the child had died and, therefore, his mourning would not induce God to relent. This probably was not the jubilant and expressive worship that had characterized David on the day the arc was returned, not that we all, at least consistently, have such expressive personalities in worship. But we are told he worshiped. David also mourned when Saul and Jonathon died in battle, and several other occasions. The instance of David seeming the most broken was when Absalom was killed, in which he sobbed for him and publicly grieved. In fact Joab had to sternly counsel David to snap out of it and encourage his men. Rachel had great difficulty giving birth to Benjamin and mourned for her children in a lament (which is a song and likely a sort of mournful worship). She died in childbirth. In this prophesy given by Jeremiah, God heard and promised that her reward would come. She represents all the mothers in Bethlehem who lost their baby boys because of jealous and wicked Herod’s edict, and every mother who has ever suffered for her children. Mary stood at the foot of the cross and watched in grief and terror as the crucifixion of her son unfolded before her eyes. John (19:25) tells us that there were three other women there with her united in grief. (Yay, for sisterhood!) Mary had pondered the things God had told her in her heart. She had significant insight into what was unfolding. But this was her son. There were no words or songs recorded from her position of grief, loss and agony that day. Yet, she knew. She worshiped in silence as she grieved.
God expects us to grieve. Jesus grieved for Lazarus. But we are to grieve with hope, because He wants us to see things from His perspective. (1 Thes. 4:13) Ps. 34:18 says, “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” When your hallelujah is broken, do you find a way to worship anyway? Your grief is not the final say.