Monday, September 27, 2010

Better Than A Hallelujah?

   1. Praise ye the Lord!
   2. an exclamation of "hallelujah!"
   3. a shout of joy, praise, or gratitude

     So, you might be wondering where I'm going with this. Indulge me for 3 minutes and 38 + seconds, will you?
Click on the link and then come back, okay?

     Are you back with me again? Cool. Thanks. That was one of Amy Grant's newest songs. I've heard it on K-FISH a couple of times and it has a great melody. Amy Grant's voice and singing style has always held a lot of appeal for me. She's soulful, sincere, and passionate. However, as I was listening to this song and pondering the lyrics, I felt my theological hackles being raised.
     To start with, I love that the song is bringing emotional and often painful moments that people experience into view and encouraging honesty before God. That is absolutely wonderful.It's incredibly freeing and healing to be honest with God with our painful emotions. God will not despise a broken and contrite heart. He hears our cries, draws near to us and loves us. He comforts and counsels us like no else can.
     However, in Isaiah we read that we were "created for his glory." We were made to worship God. In the New Testament , in several places, we are commanded to praise God in our difficult circumstances. Rejoice in our hardships, because they are creating maturity in us. Our response to every trial really should be....worship. Praise. That's right, my sad friends, "hallelujah!" Our first cry to God shouldn't be our complaint or our brokenness. It should always be an acknowledgment of his kindness, faithfulness, and sovereignty. That is, if we want to grow in maturity and the character of Christ. 
     Flash back to fall of 2006 for me. Let's see...we were in escrow buying our rental property that I didn't want to buy, Daisy was a small baby with lactose intolerance issues so I had to remove all dairy products from my diet, Chloe was needing several appointments at Children's Hospital to diagnose and get treatment for her severe speech disability, Leanne was having mysterious bouts of vomiting that came whenever and would require hospital trips, appointments with incompetent or rude GI specialists, and I was home schooling Elena, Camille, and Leanne. Additionally, our church decided to take a break from Care Groups that fall. My main source of genuine, reliable fellowship with folks who would hear my burdens and pray for me was gone right during the zenith of all those trials. To say my plate was full,  that I was maxed out, and felt very alone is a gross understatement. I had cried out to God many times and was stretched to the breaking point often.
     However, one cataclysmic decision of hard-won, bare-souled, bottom-of the-rope determination stands frozen in time for me. I was sitting in the bathroom trying to get away from all the kids and I remember BY FAITH  thanking God for all the trials. Offering up a sacrifice of praise because it was the only thing I hadn't done and had no other options at that point. After all, why don't I just obey Scripture? I remember that powerful moment when God came down and lifted my soul up. Something broke in the heaven-lies. It was a momentous turning point. From that point on, the difficulties were still present, but I felt so much better, freer, and had much more peace. All my honest, painful cries to God, which also reflected self-pity and anger at God because of  my circumstances, did not yield the deliverance that heartfelt praise and worship did. In just a few months, all those trials would lift and things would take a dramatic turn for the better. But it began with my acknowledgment of God's goodness even in the midst of crushing, unrelenting discouragement.
     So, dear Amy Grant, your lyrics are a bit off. Nothing is better than a hallelujah.

1 comment:

April said...

Hallelujah!!! Amen!