A Reason To Sing

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When the pieces seem too shattered
To gather off the floor
And all that seems to matter
Is that I can’t feel You anymore
Is that I don’t feel You anymore

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that You’re still holding
The whole world in Your hands
I need a reason to sing

When I’m overcome by fear
And I hate everything I know
If this waiting lasts forever
I’m afraid I might let go
I’m afraid I might let go
I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that you’re still holding
The whole world in your hands
I need a reason to sing

Will there be a victory?
Will You sing it over me now?
Your peace is the melody
Will You sing it over me now?

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that You’re still holding
The whole world in Your hands
That is a reason to sing
~Reason To Sing By All Sons and Daughters

When the pieces seem too shattered to gather off the floor, and all that seems to matter is that I can’t feel You anymore…
Last week, I was in a period of grief. No, no one died. I became grieved because I felt cut off from God’s oversight and protection. I was upset and mad because I followed God through something He asked of me and then all of a sudden-He wasn’t there anymore.
There! I said it. For those super-religious types out there who are wondering: No, lightning didn’t just zap me. God didn’t smush me like a bug either. Sorry, guys- He’s not even mad at me.

If this waiting lasts forever I’m afraid I might let go…
I feel like I need to explain.
I have been through a struggling four month season. Think about being asked to tread water for four months and you would get the picture of the level of emotional involvement and exhaustion it feels like I have been under. The message I received during this time was that God was using this series of events to set things right. “OK – Got it, God! While this is very uncomfortable and tiring, that setting things right part sounds really good.” So I waited, and prayed, and died to self…A LOT! And then when I was finished with that, I waited and prayed and died to self…A LOT more. And so on. Do you realize that the whole “dying to self” thing takes quiiiiite a bit of energy for the sometimes controlling perfectionist types, like me?
Well, trust me, it does.
It’s the kind of energy expenditure that tends to leave one physically bankrupt. But it was all good, right? I had my faith in God and that was what would get me through. Those were the words everyone expected to come out of my mouth, and actually did for a while. I believed them and I meant them. Until.
Until the season showed no sign of coming to an end. Until the wearing, pressing events, kept on coming, kept on wearing and kept on pressing. And then I started hearing the proverbial crickets where God’s voice used to be.

When I’m overcome by fear…
Do you know how crazy-scary this kind of thing is to admit, out loud? That, as a Christian, as a child of God, I don’t have it all together…that I can’t feel God near me in this season sometimes…that I can’t feel His tangible protection…that I honestly feel that sometimes that “one more thing”, might be what finally does me in…?

Before you succumb to the voices of the whoever it is in your life (maybe even yourself) telling you that feeling this is wrong and that you need to feel guilty and repent of all this nonsense – bear with me for a moment and hear this part. You are not alone. There are at least four of us: you, me and the writers of this song. Wait-make that five of us…listen to what David has to say to God in Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You answer not; and by night I am not silent or find no rest.
Wait! Make that six…Jesus also repeated a portion of these words from the cross.

I think that God must know what a gift He was giving when He made Jesus human, like us. He did it so we would have a great example of what our right response to life, to Him, should be. If there was an instance that, even Jesus who was part of the Trinity, felt cut off from His Father, then that makes me stop and think that it just might be acceptable for us to walk through and explore this same emotion. It’s a lot like that whole directive to be angry but not to sin thing (Ephesians 4:26). Easy to say, harder to pull off, right?

Do you see where we might get tripped up, though? Because of God’s great mercy, it’s acceptable to vent our questions, our wellspring of emotions, our crying out- but we need to make sure that they are being directed toward God. A friend of mine calls it “venting vertically”. It’s fine to walk through a valley that looks a lot like doubt, but we should not pitch a tent and decide to live there. Our eyes need to be scanning the horizon for our Hope and our Sure Help that is coming. As the old saying goes: God is never a minute too early and not a minute too late. Our default needs to be like Jesus. While He was on the cross, after questioning why His Father had forsaken Him, His next (default) breath was one of renewed faith in the absolute care and wisdom of God. He completed His assignment without complaining. The Bible says He submitted His Spirit and trusted even from the cross. Think of the day or so leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. He prayed so fervently to God not to take His life that He actually produced sweat drops of blood. He was betrayed by someone he purposely chose to be a close friend. Jesus was wrongly accused and tried right there in His own Father’s House. Even though He knew His assignment, I’m sure He was still desperately looking for a sign or a physical representation of God’s presence – something, anything there in the Temple. He was mocked and scorned by the people God had made a covenant with and whom His Father had given Him rule over. They were called His own and they laughed at Him during His valiant quest to save them. As He was being beaten and whipped, I’m sure He had to consciously keep His incredible strength and power under control. He had to make Himself into the sacrificial lamb.

The devil likes nothing more than to trick us into thinking we are the only ones who feel a deep level of struggle, of abandonment-that we actually have been abandoned. He loves to separate us from the Truth and other believers who would gladly remind us of it. He lies and tells us that these feelings make us unworthy of God’s love. He tells us that we are alone and God has forgotten us in our sad, helpless state-that we are just too broken to fix. He wants us weak, misinformed and to stay stuck in this place of doubt. But what he thankfully never sees coming is: sometimes coming out the other side of a struggle is what cements our faith in God.

I need to know that You’re still holding the whole world in Your hands. That is a reason to sing…
No one can forcefully pull you through to the other side of doubt. No one can make you decide to remember your default setting of faith in God. No one can force you to feel so joyful that you burst into song. It’s a matter of settling some things in your own heart. God heard my cries immediately. He sent help immediately. I finally realized that it was my choice to recognize it or not. Ouch! By the end of the week, I realized that during this whole time, He had sent numerous people, songs, scriptures and safeguarded a time so we could sit quietly together. He showed up. Not in a noisy, flashy way, but almost like a mist rising off a lake. Like the Holy Spirit who was already there with me the whole time. My Father was suddenly…there. As I was crying and tried to rehash the whole situation to Him in apology, all He could do was ask me what I was talking about. You see, He has a very bad memory where forgiven sin is concerned. Yours and mine. No matter the sin.

So, back to our fellow-doubter, David. Here are some conclusions he came to after his wrestle with God on the issue of why, abandonment and silence:

• Look at Him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. (It’s ok – God already knows what you are feeling.)

• God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. (Even if no sound is heard, God puts protection around us to protect our desire to talk with Him.)

• Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. (Look around you, the evidence of God’s presence is everywhere. It’s irrefutable and overwhelming! He’s really not hiding like you think…)

• Blessed are you who run to him. (God’s desire is that when you are in trouble, He wants your default to be that you run to give it to Him.)

• Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness. (Thankfulness is guaranteed to usher in His presence. God inhabits the praises of His people.)

• God keeps an eye on his friends, His ears pick up every moan and groan.

• Is anyone crying for help? god is listening, ready to rescue you.

• If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath.

• Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.

• He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken. (Gulp! Not even the finger I was pointing in accusation at Him?! )

• God pays for each slave’s freedom; no one who runs to him loses out.

• The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as song.*

My reason to sing? You know that cage of doubt and sin? He had opened the door a long time ago. He was just waiting for me to realize I was free to fly out. ~Debbie Bouckley

<a href="http://youtu.be/WsLhN-RtSTE&#8221;>http://youtu.be/WsLhN-RtSTE

*Taken from Psalm 34 (MSG) and Psalm 28:7 (VOICE)

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