They sang a song at church Sunday: My Living Hope.
It overwhelmed me.
It was the first time I’d stood in a church service since attending Kristin’s son’s funeral.
We were all five there, near the back. I was hosting a family from church for lunch afterwards, so I’d prepped chicken enchiladas the night before but had a few last minute things to do before getting ready for church. I was rushing. The kids were fighting. I was yelling. Things were tense and everyone was grumpy when we piled into the truck to drive the few short minutes to our church.
We made it through the community greetings, all smiles, and a couple of songs when the band started playing, Living Hope. The song, in part, says:
Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory
Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope
I was completely undone. Trying not to cry, I lifted my hand in praise and let the words sink in. It was all I could do to stay standing because those words rocked me. My Living Hope.
After we sat, my critical mind started attacking: What a hypocrite! You are chief among the hypocrites. You come to church and act holy closing your eyes and singing these songs but you’re a mess. You were just screaming at your kids a half hour ago and fighting with your husband and spending unwisely and…
You get the idea.
But then the other voice weighed in: That’s WHY the words are so powerful. Given my failures and my utter messiness, He still died for me and forgave me. Why do you think I love Him so much? I’m a wreck. And He still loves me.
I remember sitting in an auditorium with Beth Moore teaching a bible study. She told a story about her grandson singing along with a Christian song on the radio. And she got big tears in her eyes when she heard him and thought, You have no idea how much you are going to love Him! You have no idea yet how much He will see you through.
I feel like that now, especially after these last weeks. Lots of travel. Funerals and diagnoses. Busyness and exhaustion.
In the middle of it all, His faithfulness. (Webster defines as loyal, constant, steadfast. What a gift.)
As I flew home Tuesday night from Washington, D.C., a quick work trip, we took off in the middle of a storm. Initially, it wasn’t as bumpy as I feared it would be. (There’s a post just in that.) But then we got into a cloud stormbank as we rose and the plane dipped and bumped and rocked. I’ve become ever more fearful as I fly, post kids, and I gripped the seat arms.
Then, just as quickly as it began, the airplane pulled through the clouds and calmed. Above the storm, blue skies. Before, you couldn’t see beyond the window. Now, you could see the entire sky stretched forth beyond the plane.
I read a blog post yesterday, entitled The Fog Always Rises, about a woman’s struggle with anxiety and depression, and she says: Sometimes, it’s through what becomes the fog’s reprieve that we can appreciate the blaze of the sun.
Why do you think I love Him so much?
Despite my failures and inadequacies, I know someone who loves me through it all, at all times, and forgives me no matter how many times I’ve messed up before.
No matter the stormbank or the fog, there’s light on the other side. It looks different than it did before you hit the stormbank or the fog, but the blaze of the sun, the clearing, does pierce the clouds and fog.
I don’t ever forget where I’ve failed. And I have to ask others for forgiveness too, not just my Savior. I never forget the storm. I never forget the fog. My heart still bears scars from the battering it took.
Yet, He brought me into a spacious place, He rescued me because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19