Even When it Hurts

It should come as no surprise that Hillsong United is probably my favorite worship group these days. I mean, they have some phenomenal and powerful songs that they have shared with this world, and you can find one that resonates with just about any season in life. And their new album does just that. From the highs to the lows and everything in between. But today, and in light of everything that has happened in our world as of late, I wanted to focus on the song in the title of this post.

I decided weeks ago that I wanted to do a blog about what this song has meant to me during this most recent season of life that I’ve found myself in. But life always seemed to get in the way of me actually sitting down and writing it. And then yet another act of violence took the lives of innocent and beautiful people and I felt like what a better time than this to write this post.

Have you ever noticed that when things are going well in your life, it’s really easy to sing our praises to the Father? I mean after all, He has blessed us with those things, so it’s only fitting that we give the glory to Him in those moments. But will those same words carry over in the face of adversity or tragedy? Will we still praise Him?

I mean when life is going grand, we can’t shut up about how great it is and about how great God is. But when we find ourselves in time of struggle, we oftentimes forget, or rather choose to forget, that He is still sovereign through it all.

When we have no song to sing, will we sing anyways?

Surely the people of Orlando and the LGBT community have nothing to sing about, right? After all, their lives were turned upside down in an instant. Loved ones gone. Families grieving. A nation in shock that things like this keep happening. Surely they have no song to sing, right?

Wrong.

I have seen video after video of communities all over the world coming together to honor those that were taken so violently from us in song. Standing in solidarity in song. That even when it hurts, they still have a song to sing. And maybe it’s not the song that you think they should be singing. Maybe it’s not the song that you would sing. But I believe that there is something so powerful in music. That there is great healing found through a song. And that God isn’t confined to moving through only a contemporary Christian song or old fashioned hymn.

When we feel like we are walking through hell, will we still praise Him?

If what these people are going through isn’t hell, then I’d love to hear what it is. Our valleys and the things that grieve us to the very depths of our being is different for everyone. No tragedy is worse than another. No one’s grief is more important than someone else’s. But what these precious people are going through, no one should have to.

But they have refused to stay silent. They have refused to lay down and surrender. It may hurt like hell right now for them to walk forward. Their biggest accomplishment of the day may simply be getting out of bed to face the day. But they are moving. They are breathing. They are fighting. They are singing.

Will you sing until the morning comes? Will you hold out for the miracle? Will you trust that even though what you may be walking through is difficult to face, that He is still good?

It’s really easy to praise Him when we find ourselves on the mountaintop. And those moments are important. Because He deserves our praise. But I think that we find out more about ourselves and who we are in the Father when we are able to praise Him in the valleys.

This is something that has taken me awhile to learn, and if I’m honest, I’m still learning. No one wants to walk through the storms and struggles of life, but it’s how we make it out of those that speaks volumes. Struggle produces growth. But only if you allow it to.

As for me, I will continue to sing. Regardless of if other people think I should be. Regardless of if they approve of the song I’m singing. Regardless of if I meet their standards. My life and every breath I take does not exist for them or because of them. But for the One that put that very breath in my lungs and song in my heart.

Even when it hurts, the light is still winning. Rest in that friends.

My Feet May Fail; He Will Not.

One of my favorite worship songs is Oceans by Hillsong. I’m sure you’ve all heard it by now. Some of you may have heard it more than you would have liked. And I’ll admit, it has been overplayed. But that doesn’t take away from the profoundness of it’s lyrics.

And if you find yourself in a place where your faith is being tested, then I’m sure this song really resonates with you.

You call me out upon the water. The great unknown, where feet may fail.

In this season of my life, I find myself with some pretty awesome opportunities, but to say that they aren’t terrifying at the same time would be a lie.

This is where my faith in Him is being tested.

How much do I trust Him?
How far out of my comfort zone am I willing to go?

I may very well fail.

And that’s exactly what will happen if I trust in my plan and not His.

You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now.

He has never once failed me.

So why then, am I letting my fear control me?
Because I’m human.
And I can’t see past my shortcomings to see what He has planned for me.

I know that He is for me and will work things for my good.

So then why is it so hard to trust?

Because I want to desperately prove that I’m good enough to do it on my own. That I don’t need help.
And I’m almost positive that I’m not the only one that has thought that way.

How far are we willing to take our selfish pride and arrogance?

It’s not easy to let go and to let Him take control.
To take us into the great unknown.

I’m entering into a season of the unknown.
And it would be easier to just not go.
But He didn’t call me to not go. He called me to go.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.

My prayer for not only myself, but for anyone else finding themselves in a season of the unknown, is that we would let go of our arrogance and allow Him to call us where He wants us.

That definitely isn’t easy.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

That is the ultimate answer to that prayer.

That He would take us deeper so that despite the uncomfortableness, we are so enthralled with being in His presence, we no longer notice the discomfort.

He has called us to great things.
And the good news is, He doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

We may fail.
We will fail.

But He will not.

I hope that if you find yourself in a season of change, that you would allow Him to direct your path. He has great things for you.

Let Him take you deeper.

Obligatory Love.

Have you ever heard someone say, “I love you because the bible tells me I have to” or “I forgive you because Jesus tells me I have to”?
Have you ever said that to anyone?
Maybe out of anger or frustration.
Maybe because you don’t agree with what they are doing.
Regardless, these words can be extremely detrimental in my opinion.

I mean, could that be any more of an empty and meaningless couple of statements?
You: “I love you, but only because I have to.”
Me: “Uhh, thanks? I think.”

As followers of Christ we are called and commanded to love, so that statement is biblically true.
But as followers of Him, we shouldn’t love someone because we have to.
We should love them because we get to.
We get the privilege of loving each other.
We are called to live Christ like lives.
Christ was- Christ is, love, in the purest form.
We get to love people.

See how different that comes across?
Instead of, “I love you because I have to,” it becomes “I love you because I get to!”

There’s nothing worse than feeling like someone is obligated to love you.
In fact, that does nothing but make me feel like I’m a burden to that person or that I’m just another chore on their to do list.
“Let’s see, what’s on the agenda today? Ah yes, pay bills, love people, buy groceries,pick up dry cleaning.”
What an awful thing to be compared to.

We should be excited that we get to love people, because love can change the course of history.
We were, and still are, loved so much by our Creator that he gave us the ultimate gift- himself.
And he was the ultimate example of love.
And because of that love, we can have an intimate relationship with the Father.
That love bridged the gap between us.
That love changed everything.

Christ chose us.
He chose love.
And because he chose us, we get to share that love with others, and we should do that because we get to, not because we have to.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Much love to you.