June 12, 2017

when the tears fall

WHEN THE TEARS FALL -- Tim Hughes

I've had questions without answers;
I've known sorrow, I have known pain.
But there's one thing that I'll cling to
You are faithful, Jesus, You're true.

When hope is lost, I'll call you Saviour
When pain surrounds, I'll call you Healer
When silence falls, You'll be the song within my heart.


In the lone hour of my sorrow
Through the darkest night of my soul
You surround me, and sustain me
My Defender, forevermore


When hope is lost, I'll call you Saviour
When pain surrounds, I'll call you Healer
When silence falls, You'll be the song within my heart.
And I will praise You, I will praise You
When the tears fall, still I will sing to You
And I will praise You, Jesus, praise You. 
Through the suffering, still I will sing.


When hope is lost, I'll call you Saviour
When pain surrounds, I'll call you Healer
When silence falls, You'll be the song within my heart.


When the laughter fails to comfort
When my heart aches, Lord, are you there?
When confusion is all around me
And the darkness is my closest friend
Still I will praise you, Jesus, praise you


/ //

This song started ringing out in my head today. Note: I haven't sang or heard this song in over... 7 years?! However. Its message ties in to the sermon I heard on Sunday (that we come to worship together because we are called to community), the prayers my friends prayed over me on Thursday night (that hope would be restored, and that my neck/back would be healed), and the pain that has been surrounding my heart in the last weeks and months (loneliness in leadership, false sense of responsibility, fear).

Okay, God. I'm listening.

when hope is lost, I'll call you Saviour
As the fierce and radiant Steffany Gretzinger once sang: "Sometimes we sing until we believe."

Dear friends prayed for me on Thursday night, and brought with them anointing oil and frankincense (what's good for Jesus is good for me! It felt nice, too.). As they prayed, I confessed my anger towards God... of feeling left alone in my pain. We prayed for healing. We prayed for relief. We prayed for my hope to be restored.

After praying, my friends told me they are committed to carry my hope for me when I can't. Wow! Think of that -- it's like they are holding up posters that say "giving up is not an option" or "we'll carry you if we have to but you are gonna finish this" as a run a marathon, or pushing a proverbial wheelchair across a milestone, because I don't have the strength to do it on my own. They'll help me carry it until I believe it, too.

Let this be a plug for community -- newsflash: sometimes having hope is based in excitement or is simple, but it's not always that way, and we are not realistically able to always hold onto hope on our own. Life is too hard. People lie to you, friends desert you, health fails, marriages falter, children are bullied, jobs are taxing or lost or not able to be secured. Seasons change. People who you count on as pillars of strength move away, or pass away, or fail, or grow apart from you. But, you still need to be known, and, sometimes, carried. You still need people to raise your banners up, reminding you of who you are and what you're called to. Plug in! Get connected to a place that is filled with people who know when you aren't singing from your heart. Who hold you up when you can't lift your head.

Hebrews 6:16-19 -- "People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf."

Hope is only possible because of Jesus. Freedom is only possible in Jesus.

when pain surrounds, I'll call you Healer 
Some days I am physically overwhelmed by pain. This usually is followed by a cloud of sadness (which usually looks like frustration). Real talk? It's really REALLY hard to hope for healing when you face pain everyday. Maybe that seems counter-intuitive... you might think: "But wouldn't you just be hoping all the time that the pain would go away if it is so bad?" Actually, no... when you're in pain, and you know how long the pain has been around, it's hard to imagine life without it. It's hard to believe in healing.

Chronic pain has kept me in a sort of submission where I am in a holding pattern of believing "this is what will be". Sidenote -- I can imagine there is a similar (but, of course, vastly different) feeling for the journey of suffering from depression, or grief, or social anxiety, or battling an eating disorder or substance use challenges. You feel beat before the day starts. But the truth is that God is a Healer. God is in the business of restoration. Even when you are not healed, and although I am still limited by my pain, God sees and knows the hurting. 

The truth that God is Healer is more enduring and more steadfast than the reality of my pain. Healing is possible!

when silence falls, you'll be the song within my heart
One of the ways my friends, mentors and family know when I am not in a good place is when I stop singing. I grow quiet. I play small. This is usually the point when they start encouraging me to reconnect, to seek God's presence. Rest in it. Stop moving and just dwell. Bask. To sing... even roar. 

Sometimes... if I (ever) get quiet enough, I am reminded that I only sing because he gave me something to sing about. Because of His goodness and the restoration and beauty He is working out in our midst. Around us. In us.

When silence falls, we often fill it. Mute it (2 x silence = loud?). Drown it. Squash it. Why? Because we don't believe that God has nice things to say to us. Because we believe lies about God's character, thinking that He has already abandoned us. We don't believe that God delights in us. We are not comfortable being serenaded by the Love of our Creator. So we work to make sure others say nice things to us, or delight in us, or whisper sweet nothings to us. We work. (Work, work, work...)

When it gets real quiet: Try to listen. Ask yourself what you believe about God in the quiet moments of your heart. Ask Him who He is. See what He tells you about himself. [Feel free to report back!!]

// /


Have you ever lost hope? Did it just slip out of view with some horrible news? Did the fog roll in as worry or pain crept into your everyday existence? Did you part ways with joy in a difficult season, begin partnering with fear or lust or shame, and never find your way back?


Come back. Work it out. Talk it out. Cry it out. Sing it out. Tell God you're angry or lost or lonely. Give it up. Lament. Shout. Roar. Let the tears fall.  

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