Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Momentary Lightness of Being

Sometimes I get frustrated with worship music.

I love listening to worship music and being encouraged by the messages within, but ever since I started working in a place with widespread hardship and suffering I have become increasingly frustrated with the music I once sang without even thinking.

For example, the song "Oceans" has been of great encouragement to me since working on the Apache reservation. It calms my soul and puts peace in my heart. But I catch myself wondering if those who wrote these songs have ever actually been in the midst of these turbulent oceans. No one in their right mind would ever ask to be led to deep waters if they really understood how easy it is to drown there. The song states, "Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior."

Yes, I agree! Hallelujah! That of course is the hope and the desire, but I have found that it isn't that easy. In these deep waters there are many times when I don't have stronger faith, but instead (on certain days) my faith is made weaker as I seek to navigate the floods.

It is the same thing with songs that ask to "give me Your eyes" or "Break my heart for what breaks yours." Do we truly know what it means to ask these things? Do we understand the pain that will fill our hearts when we are given His eyes and His heart? Do we understand that deeper waters will truly test us, more than we could ever imagine? Do we really want to ask for what we are asking for?

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The other day this all came to light as I was sitting with a student, talking about culture and religion, places where I have gone wrong, and my hopes for her walk with Jesus.

All of a sudden my eyes betrayed the emotions that began to well up inside of me, as my mouth moved and the words poured out. “If I could take every ounce of pain, every bad thing that has ever happened to you, and every wrong that has ever left you scarred, I would. I would take every ounce of it so that you wouldn’t have to bear any of it.” My voice began to shake slightly. “But I can’t. As much as I wish I could.” As I looked at the teenage girl sitting across from me, a new truth suddenly dawned on me, and amidst my watering eyes I almost began to shout. “Oh my goodness! Oh my gosh! But God feels the same way! He sees all of the bad and sadness, and all that has harmed us, and His one desire is to take it on Himself so we don’t have to bear it. But here is the difference! God IS going to do that! He IS going to come back and take every sadness and every ounce of pain. God feels the same way as I do, but He can actually do it!” 

In that moment, God gave me a glimpse of Himself. In the midst of my worry and doubt, He gave me a momentary lightness of being as I felt what He felt, the depth of love that makes us willing to heap all of another’s pain upon ourselves, if only they don’t have to bear it. In that moment, He showed me Himself by allowing me to feel what He feels. And He reminded me of the truth, that He does love us that much, and that He will come to take it all away. It was a beautiful and emotional moment. And it reminds me that He is good and He will take the pain away, because He loves us. 

It was a moment of being given the broken heart of God and the eyes to see the truth in His plan and His love. For that moment He allowed me to feel as He feels, and it transformed my view of God. I had felt a fraction of His love, a love so deep that I would put myself in terrible pain just so another would not have to bear it.

And in that moment, I finally understood those songs. 

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