Worshiping in the Woods

Read: Psalm 95:1-7

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power. (Rev. 4:11 NIV)

Thomas’s parents arranged his marriage to Maria when they were both teenagers. Maria was an orphan raised by her non-Christian brother. She was happy to marry Thomas because she knew his family was Christian. She had wanted to become a Christian, but her brother had said no.

In that place, the groom’s family had to pay a bride price. Part of the bride price was for the groom to work for his bride’s family three weeks out of every month during the first year of marriage. After the wedding, Thomas and Maria moved to her brother’s home.

When the first Sunday arrived, Thomas asked his brother-in-law if they could go to church. His brother-in-law said, “No, you are here to pay for your wife.” They were sent to find firewood in a distant wooded area.

They worked hard, cutting and gathering wood. When their loads were tied together, ready to carry home on their backs, they decided they would have their own worship service. So they sang hymns and knelt in the silence of the forest and prayed. They thanked God that they had been sent into the quiet woods so they could praise him and talk with him there. In that lonely place, they could worship God freely together. What a beautiful start for their married life!

—Helen Hofman

As you pray, take time to praise God wherever you are.

About the Author

Helen Hofman is a retired missionary. She and her husband Sam worked with the Tzeltal and Tojolabal Indians of Chiapas, Mexico for more than forty years. In their work, they helped set up a Bible School to train the Tzeltals, taught in the Bible School, prepared Sunday School materials, textbooks, hymnals and audiovisuals. They also coordinated the translation of the Amatenango Tzeltal New Testament and the revision of the highland Tzeltal Bible.

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