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The queue had stretched out of the Bosnian bakery and onto the street. Starving, war-shattered survivors were lining up for their daily bread. It was 4pm, May 27th, 1992 – one month into the siege of Sarajevo. Suddenly a mortar shell fell directly into the middle of the bread line, obliterating 22 lives.

A hundred yards away lived a 37-year-old man – Vedran Smajlovic. Before the war he had been the principal cellist of the Sarajevo Opera Company. When he saw the massacre outside his window, he rushed to the scene and was overcome with grief at the carnage.

Driven by anguish, he decided to take action.

He did the only thing he could do.

He made beautiful music.

Beautiful Music – Fearless Defiance

For the next 22 days, one for each victim of the bombing, at 4 p.m. precisely, Mr. Smajlovic would put on his full formal concert attire, and walk out of his apartment into the midst of the battle raging around him.

He placed a fire-scorched stool in the middle of the bomb-crater and played Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor.

When this vigil ended he played in graveyards and at funerals. In acts of fearless defiance bordering on madness, Mr. Smajlovic, beautifully dressed, braved sniper fire, to play for the dead and dying.

Smajlovic decided to challenge the ugliness of war with his only weapon – music.  He offered a vision of beauty to his city and to the soldiers trying to destroy it.

What To Do: Ukraine 2022

Denys Karachevtsev has played his cello in some of the most prestigious concert halls in Austria, Japan and Turkey and even in Tunisia’s ancient amphitheater, El Jem. Now he is playing in the ruins of his Ukrainian hometown, Kharkiv.

Mr. Karachevtsev performed Bach’s somber Cello Suite No. 5 in the center of a deserted street strewn with the debris. His backdrop: the regional police headquarters, its windows blown out by Russian shelling.

What to Do? Worship as Defiance

So, what do you do when your health or family or business is under siege? When fear and despair are like deadly sniper fire, what’s your next move?


Is choosing to worship any less heroic than Verdan Smajlovic’s cello playing?

When you settle your fire-scorched stool in the middle of your ugly circumstances and give thanks to God, you are, like Smajlovic, or Karachevtsev performing an act of fearless defiance.

Reverently lifting your hands to a loving God who hasn’t yet shown his hand in making things better for you, is a prophetic demonstration of hope.

I’m not suggesting this sounds sane, however I’ve responded this way myself – and watched others as well; a recently widowed young woman for example. Her husband was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. His death left her grief stricken. Yet, on the Sundays to follow, she worshipped the Lord, with hands lifted up. It was good for her soul and for the souls who worshiped with her. Today, she is happy in an unexpected 2nd marriage.

3 Things Worship Will Do for You

1. Worship is what you need to do when its all you can do. Think of Job. When all of his children were killed and his wealth was destroyed in one day, what could he do? He worshiped. (Job 1:20)  Outnumbered by an enemy alliance, a King of Israel admitted, “We don’t know what to do but our eyes are upon you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)

2. Worship reminds you that, ultimately, your battles are not yours but God’s.  The enemy armies turned on each other, leaving no one alive and four days worth of plunder to collect. Coincidence? (2 Chronicles 20:15) The army of Israel was instructed to sing as their warfare, “Give thanks to the Lord for His love endures forever.”

3. Worship settles your soul by defying your despair. “Have faith in the Lord and you will be upheld..stand firm and see.” (2 Chronicles 2:20) Worship is not passive. Worship is a sacred act of defiance.

Worship will lift a siege from your faith and create an oasis of hope for your soul.

Try it.

Have you used worship as warfare? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • This is emotional advice to do what you can in profoundly shocking and difficult circumstances. Thanks for this!

  • bob jones says:

    Thank you, Tim. I am inspired by yours and Kathy’s choices to worship as you’ve faced your own sieges of life and faith.

  • adena lowry says:

    On Sunday morning I stepped into my designated seat at church alone, and started to worship. Soon I found myself crying, not sobbing, but just a gentle stream of tears. I’m not entirely sure why. I was giving God all the difficulties of my world: my sister-in-law with cancer, my parents who don’t know God, their worries of their business, my brother who is getting a divorce…Aftter worship was over, I sat down, and the woman 3 seats over was sobbing. I’m not sure if God gave me her burden too. I looked over at her with teary eyes and we both smiled at one another among the pain in our hearts. God spoke to us both I’m sure that morning through our worship to him.

  • bob jones says:

    Your “light-up-the-room” smile and attitude never betray the behind the scenes issues you are facing. Praying for you today. I am glad God touched you in worship yesterday, Adena.

  • Mike Hendrick says:

    Bob This came in at quite the most appropriate time. I have been having a really challenging year, where I feel like I have been barely been able to keep my head above the waves and seeing so many doors close in my face and facing an situation that has completely left me feeling betrayed by someone who called himself a believer. I had a very difficult Thursday night where it felt like everything came crashing down and I have just wanted to see God move afresh and pull me out of the storms I had been facing. Thanks for sharing..It was a real encouragement to read. Felt God give me a song that I had been listening to by a worship leader named Amanda Cook from Bethel Church in Redding…called “You make me Brave” Really helped me enter back into a place of worship in the midst of such trying situations. Bless you: Mike Hendrick

  • Tammy says:

    Thanks for this! great post!

  • bob jones says:

    Hi Mike. Great to hear from you and welcome to “Pointes of View.” I’m glad you settled into this space at such a timely moment for you. God knows our needs and how and where we can receive encouragement and understanding. You’ve been through a lot lately. I think you’re on the right track with choosing to worship – “You Make me Brave” – sounds like a great song for battle.

  • bob jones says:

    You’re welcome, Tammy!

  • Janine Kunce says:

    Worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ means everything to me. I am so thankful that God loves us so much that He has provided a way for us to connect with Him in a deeply intimate way.

  • Wirwin says:

    Lord, I come, I confess
    Bowing here I find my rest
    Without You I fall apart
    You’re the One that guides my heart

    Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
    Every hour I need You
    My one defense, my righteousness
    Oh God, how I need You

    Lately during some trying times, this worship song has been in my heart and on my lips. I think just acknowledging that we need God’s help is the first step to allowing Him to work.

  • bob jones says:

    Hi Janine. Great to hear from you. Regardless of our circumstances or how much faith we feel we have, worship is always the right choice to make in any situation. Praise, gratitude, adoration or asking – which can be one of the best expressions of worship – total dependency on Jesus – are expressions that the Lord understands and appreciates. God bless.

  • bob jones says:

    So true. Dependency on Jesus is something He loves in us. As parents we want our kids to grow, move out and be independent. Not God. Lifetime dependency is a gift of worship we give to God. Dependency on God is because of his adequacy.

  • Tara Sinanan says:

    I like #3…I use worship in times of despair because God will never let me fall. Many times God allows my suffering to strengthen me. I have learned to lean on Him. One instance of my life was a tragic vehicle accident. It was the second one. Couldn’t speak, my face including my lips, stitched up all over, couldn’t eat, left elbow broken, wrist traumatic blow, knee and ankle braced. For more than 3 months, my mother slept at the foot of my bed, blended food and fed me using a straw and took care of all my personal needs. My Dad sat at my side and read the bible and prayed continuously. That’s when I really came face to face with knowing and learning to trust The Lord . He used my agony to teach me perseverance and most of all to depend on Him no matter what happens. Today, yes, I live with physical pain, but I can do everything. Most of all, he healed my broken heart, age 19, just one month before my wedding, I felt ugly. I am happy to tell anyone that God uses my brokenness to Love and Serve Him. Loving, praying, helping and caring for others. Trust God with every breath you take. He will heal you and use you for His Glory. Oh! Yes, I was a beautiful bride 🙂

  • bob jones says:

    That’s quite a story Tara! Everytime I hear from you there is one more piece of the picture that gets added in as to the person you’ve become. You are good at loving, praying, helping and caring for others. Thanks Tara!

  • Carole Schlachta says:

    Thank you for reminding me! My life and I belong to God so everything about me belongs to Him as well. The sadness , the pain both mentally and physically , the financial struggle, the fear of the inexpected, the great needs both physically and financially.
    It is interesting that every concern I have is His too except He knew about it and has given me a choice. Do I come to Him in fear and trembling, maybe because we know He is the great I am. OR do I come to Him in fear with adoration. I choose adoration. Did you know that for every one of our situations His living word has a promise for me. That is why I come to His with adoration and respect for all that He has done for me and all He will do for
    Somebody said

  • Karen Ehrenholz says:

    Yes, Pastor, and this was my “fight song” …

    I will praise You Lord my God
    Even in my brokenness
    I will praise You Lord
    I will praise You Lord my God
    Even in my desperation
    I will praise You Lord

    And I can’t understand
    All that You allow
    I just can’t see the reason
    But my life is in Your hands
    And though I cannot see You
    I choose to trust You

    Even when my heart is torn I will praise (trust) You Lord
    Even when I feel deserted I will praise (trust) You Lord
    Even in my darkest valley I will praise (trust) You Lord
    And when my world is shattered and it seems all hope is gone
    Yet I will praise You Lord

    I will trust You Lord my God
    Even in my loneliness
    I will trust You Lord
    I will trust You Lord my God
    Even when I cannot hear You
    I will trust You Lord

  • bob jones says:

    That’s a great fight song, Karen. Thank you for sharing.

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