LEADER: Use the following suggestions to introduce your worship time.
Read the Psalm passage and then share the reading of the stories below.
If possible, play the songs after each reading.
End in a prayer of praise despite the uncertainty of our times and the situations in which the group members find themselves.
Singing songs of praise, telling of God's mercy and greatness, and living a life of praise is not just for times when things are going well. Even in our deepest times of sorrow, fear, and anxiety we must learn and practice praise. God is always worthy of our praise. Below you will find examples of times when those who loved God lived for and praised God despite their circumstances.
READ Psalm 18:1-20
"Because He Lives"
In the late 1960s, while expecting their third child, Bill and Gloria Gaither were going through a rather traumatic time in their lives. Bill was recovering from a bout with mononucleosis. They, along with their church, were the objects of accusation and belittlement. Gloria was experiencing a time of torment, including fear of the future and of bringing children into such a crazy, mixed-up world.
As Gloria sat alone in a darkened living room, tormented and fearful, the Lord sent a calm and peaceful rest to her. The power of the resurrection of Christ seemed to affirm itself in their lives once again. Gloria remembers the realization that "it was LIFE conquering death in the regularity of my day". The joy seemed to overcome and take precedent over frightening human circumstances.
And the song "Because he Lives" came out of their personal bout with darkness:
Because He lives
I can face tomorrow!
Because He lives
All fear is gone!
Because I know
He holds the future,
And life is worth the living
JUST BECAUSE HE LIVES!
"'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus"
"'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" was written by a most remarkable woman, Louisa M. R. Stead, out of one of her darkest hours—the tragic drowning of her husband.
Louisa Stead was born in England. She felt the call of God upon her life for missionary service. She arrived in America in 1871. In 1875, Louisa married a Mr. Stead, and to this union was born a daughter, Lily. When the child was four years of age, the family decided one day to enjoy the sunny beach at Long Island Sound, New York.
While eating their picnic lunch, they suddenly heard cries of help and spotted a drowning boy in the sea. Mr. Stead charged into the water. As often happens, however, the struggling boy pulled his rescuer under the water with him, and both drowned before the terrified eyes of wife and daughter.
Out of her, "why?" struggle with God during the ensuing days flowed these meaningful words from the soul of Louisa Stead:
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know 'Thus saith the Lord.'
— Kenneth Osbeck