I just received this book Worship in the Presence of God and have been reading it in bits and pieces. I turned to the chapter on worship and preaching; immediately came across this quote:
When God is loved only for His love-necessary as noble as that is in itself-, the time will come when the ‘why’s’ will rise up in one’s heart. Divine providences, which tend to push all men to the breaking point at one time or another (Jam. 1:2), will precipitate cries such as “Why, oh God? Do you not love me anymore?”
Such cries, however tempting, are indicative of a man- centered attitude and preclude worship, which is God-centered. The ‘why’s’ to God will silence the worship by definition. To love God centrally for His holiness is to escape that trap. In light of the awesome purity of God, man sees himself in his ruined state (Is. 6:5), which admittedly deserve eternal damnation. In the face of any providence of God, even the kind that seemingly presses the last drop of blood out of an individual, the response of anyone who acknowledges his ruined state as his own fault and damnation as his just desert will never be ‘Why?’ but rather ‘Why Not?’. This response, and this response alone, which can not be produced except through a vision of God in His holiness, will pave the way for worship that seeks God (John 4:23) and with which He is satisfied.
In fact, love for God in His holiness always goes hand in hand with a desire for holiness before God. That ultimately will produce thankfulness, not just in spite of or in the circumstances, but because of the circumstances. After all, everything in the lives of those who love God aims at their ‘good,’ that is, their transformation into the image of Christ, their sanctification (Rom. 8:28-29). Never do ‘bad’ things happen to good people. To complain that something bad is happening to ‘me’ is to imply ‘I’ am a bad person. For God’s people there are literally no stumbling blocks to worship. Everything fosters it!*
Soli Deo Gloria!
*Frank J. Smith and David C. Lachman, Worship in the Presence of God (Fellsmere, FL.; Reformation Media Press, 2006), p. 158