Songs of the Journey 2
You are here in the midst of it all,
here to love me and to catch me when I fall;
When the way is not clear, and I can hardly stand,
you are right here, holding my hand
... in the midst of it all ...
On June 30, 2004, the sink hole opened that threatened to swallow my entire life. A friend had called weeks before to get together to talk about something ... an unusual request from this particular friend. Since I had another friend visiting from out of town, I had put off returning that phone call. But late morning on that Wednesday, we got together at a local Starbuck’s. For a mid-summer day, it was cool, I recall ordering hot chocolate and shivering as the dark clouds, ominously invading, hovered overhead. Her words were careful, and too quickly my heart sunk as my fears turned to reality. He had lost in the battle.
In the hours following, the skies let loose in downpour. I watched the wipers struggle to keep the windshield clear ... as he confessed that the accusation was correct. My insides churned with disgust and pain at the betrayal. An apology to her was necessary ... and it came immediately. We prayed. My tears burned my eyes, my cheeks, and pierced to my deepest soul as my children looked on the scene.
Later I escaped to catch my breath, to evaluate what had just come over me, over us, piercing through us and beginning the agonizing tearing of separation. The drops continued to pound the windshield as those words of Simple Truth reached to my soul.
Blessed be your name In the land that is plentiful Where the streams of abundance flow Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place Though I walk through the wilderness Blessed be your name
Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say... Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be your glorious name
Blessed be your name When the sun's shining down on me When the world's all as it should be Blessed be your name
Blessed be your name On the road marked with suffering Oh, There's pain in the offering Blessed be your name
I clearly remember walking into the worship segment of our Staff Conference at Snow Mountain Ranch that Labor Day weekend. I was taking a huge step of faith to be in such a visible place, interacting with so many friends, with such a raw heart. I was carrying shame, thick dark clouds of it hung all around me. I was afraid to just walk in a room, wondering if I could even bear the loving glances. Then the words of this song of Job invaded. I hadn’t heard this song before, so it smashed into my reality. At the same time I had begun to read Holding on to Hope, a short book by Nancy Guthrie with ponderings on the lessons of Job. I was hit in the very center of my being ... Could I, would I, choose to praise him in my darkness and suffering and receive from his hand both the good and the difficult? Would I grouse around in the shame, blaming and cursing? Or would I look to God, who he is, one who loves and disciplines, and allows things for his glory that only he can understand? Would I praise him for being God, come what may?
The tears just ran down my cheeks as I tried to take in the question and the reality. No words could untangle the web of emotion. God is God; he is good; he is love; he is here with me; his ways are not my ways; his holiness requires that he carry out the consequences brought on by evil ... and I must humble myself and choose to praise him. Blessed be your name in the desert place, the wilderness, on the road marked with suffering, when there is deep, excruciating, life-altering pain in the offering. Blessed be your name.
In Christ alone my hope is found He is my light, my strength, my song This Cornerstone, this solid ground Firm through the fiercest drought and storm What heights of love, what depths of peace When fears are stilled, when strivings cease My Comforter, my All in All Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh Fullness of God in helpless babe This gift of love and righteousness Scorned by the ones He came to save ‘Til on that cross as Jesus died The wrath of God was satisfied For every sin on Him was laid Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay Light of the world by darkness slain Then bursting forth in glorious Day Up from the grave He rose again And as He stands in victory Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me For I am His and He is mine Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt of life, no fear in death This is the power of Christ in me From life’s first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny No power of hell, no scheme of man Can ever pluck me from His hand ‘til He returns or calls me home Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
Standing in the Meadowlands arena in New Jersey (October 7-8, 2005) with a crowd of 4-5,000 women for the Beth Moore Live conference, Travis Cottrell began to sing this powerful song. What an awesome testimony resonating from the depths of so many hungry souls. Jesus touched me deeply that moment.
And it reverberated in my soul as I stood at orientation for seminary yesterday, feeling God remind me of his tender presence. He placed songs of rememberance like In Christ Alone next to my life verse, Psalm 139, in the launching moments of the next big call. Our God is big in the big miracles of life, but heart- and mind-blowing in those tender moments.
Thank you, Jesus.
The songs and words and your Word
Sometimes stop us in our tracks at their timing and power ...
Sometimes make our knees buckle in awe at the tenderness,
the breathtaking reality that you see, you know, you love ... me.
Give me the strength and the grace to unlock all the mysteries of your gospel
to give it, the only living HOPE, to those around me.
August 22, 2015