This is day 15 of 31 Days of Songs and Stories. For an index of all the posts in the series, click here.
We often think of worship as joyful- coming before God with thanksgiving and praise, rejoicing in who he is and in what he has done for us- and of course, a lot of the time it is. There is joy, to be found in knowing God even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances, and God is always worthy of our thanks and praise.
But what about those times when we struggle to rise above our circumstances? When the suffering we are seeing or experiencing just seems too much? When though we try to look to God, the pain is all we can see? Does that mean there’s something wrong with us or we’re lacking in faith?
You only have to look at the Psalms to see that’s not the case. Among the joyful Psalms celebrating God’s goodness and faithfulness there are also several expressing pain, fear and doubt. The Psalmists were not afraid to pour out their hearts to God- questioning, even complaining, honestly expressing their messy feelings to a God who sees and cares and doesn’t tell them just to snap out of it.
We have a God who understands our pain and sorrow because he has experienced it for himself. Jesus wept at Lazarus’s grave, he pleaded with his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane to take the cup of suffering away from him, and he cried out from the cross asking why he had been abandoned and forsaken.
God does not despise our tears; he collects them.
And sometimes we don’t need to be cheered up or made to look on the bright side; we just need to know that it’s okay to be sad.
This clip from the movie “Inside Out” says it much better than I could.
I’m grateful for the songs that have allowed me that space to be sad- that have encouraged me that I am not the only one who has felt this way, that have reassured me that it’s okay to have these feelings and that I can take them to God, that have acknowledged that, even knowing God and his love, there are still times when life is just painful.
These two songs by Superchick are ones that I listened to over and over again. In many ways they are dark, but they still contain hope: not hope for a quick-fix solution and an end to our troubles, but hope that even in the midst of it God is with us and that he can bring beauty from our pain.
“How long will this take?
How much can I go through?
My heart, my soul aches,
I don’t know what to do.
I bend, but don’t break,
And somehow I’ll get through
‘Cause I have you,
And if I had to crawl
Well, you’d crawl too.
I stumble and I fall;
Carry me through.
The wonder of it all is you
See me through.”
“The lights go out all around me,
One last candle to keep out the night,
And then the darkness surrounds me.
I know I’m alive but I feel like I’ve died…
My whole world is the pain inside me;
The best I can do is just get through the day,
When life before is only a memory.
I wonder why God lets me walk through this place…
After all this has passed, I still will remain.
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain.
Though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again,
And there’ll be beauty from pain.”
linking with Word of God Speak