The Song That Restored My Hope
What do you do with a piercing hurt? A burden that unravels your faith? A problem that removes your desire to get up again.
It makes you weep until every part of your body hurts. Until your eyes run dry. Until you feel empty and worn.
The intensity of this THING makes you want to compare it to some of the most severe trials in the Bible.
It shifts your perspective until everything in your world seems false. All of it a lie. Every memory, every milestone, everything celebrated as GOOD.
It snatches away your ability to pray, to understand the words in the Bible. It muddles your mind. It turns your memories into pain-filled flashes of trauma.
You can’t move forward.
The despair consumes you.
Hope? A myth. An idea that never applied to your life.
And yet, God lets this THING invade your life.
Why? You believe your pain and these troubles repulse those around you.
What do you do when you face a disheartening situation?
I’d like to share the back story that lead to my own struggle with the THING:
One day as I ran errands, I noticed a trio of women. The first woman, stooped over, struggled to pull her child across the intersection. The second woman, older and slower, shuffled toward the curve. A younger looking woman patiently helped the older woman. Not a word spoken between them. All three women headed towards the bus stop.
I watched them as I sat at the red light. I noticed their bent, slow moving postures. The weary air about them made it seem like it was an effort just to breathe. The scene bothered me, and I began to pray for them, asking God to help them and strengthen them, and to put joy in their lives.
The image of those women remained with me the entire day. That night as I prayed again for them, I asked God to break my heart for His people; to give me passion and love and to show me how to uplift His people regardless of their background, race, religion, social status, and any other barriers I imagined.
Those women haunted me for days, and each time I remembered their tired faces, I prayed the prayer.
I didn’t know how God would answer that prayer.
I could not fathom that a few weeks later, I would be lying in bed, crying myself to sleep at night filled, with sorrow and pain, wondering how my broken world would or could be made whole again.
One morning I sat in my rocker and held my Bible without opening it or trying to read it. I cradled it, knowing that the answers to my pain were there, but I lacked the mental strength to put forth the effort to seek them out.
“Father, have mercy,” I whispered over and over again. It became a mantra. I don’t know if I was fully aware of my plea.
As I sat there in the chair, unable to gather the energy to do anything else, I turned on the television. A movie was playing about a pastor’s family facing their own sorrow. At the end of the movie, a beautiful song began to play. A song I had never heard before. The lyrics spoke of reeling worlds, healing, dying dreams, lies of the enemy – everything confronting me at the moment.
The song ministered to me.
My daughter found it for me and programmed it so I could listen to it on a loop. It played non-stop. And during that time, whenever I began to feel overwhelmed and asked God for mercy, it never failed that some part of the song encouraged me.
A song brought hope back to my heart.
The pain remained, but the song started soothing it and slowly replacing the anguish with peace. After a while, I felt the desire to open my Bible. The music continued to play. Finally, I could pray without breaking into sobs.
It took a few months for me to begin to feel like myself again. To laugh, find joy in crafts, want to be around my family, to sing, and to enjoy silence again.
I journaled like crazy, trying to make sense of how one THING could launch my life into such a period of turmoil and confusion. And then, one morning as I flipped back through the journal, I came to the day that I asked God to break my heart for His people, to humble me to be used by Him no matter who He placed before me.
I put the journal down, and sat there, feeling dumbfounded by the entry.
This THING broke my heart, but God’s Holy light exposed the darkness trying to hide among the shards.
It uncovers the real me – my pride, impatience, anxiety, haughtiness; my desire to please others and worry about how they see me; the desire to have control and be a perfectionist; the tendency to speak unkind words when I’m exhausted; the ease with which I can become angry or frustrated; the judgmental attitudes.
Accepting and learning from this THING keeps me humble. It snatches away my tendency to judge someone based on the way they look; to come walk into a room with preconceived notions of how the event should go. It challenges me to be flexible enough to change my schedule if it means having time to be present with someone who’s hurting and needs my attention. It’s forcing me to be conscious of the needs of others; To look someone in the eye and notice the sadness there instead of rushing away after a half-hearted greeting.
The lessons keep coming as I notice my need to engage those seeking my attention, instead of looking for the first opportunity to walk away. To be open to listening to their stories and praying when they ask. To quiet my mind so that I listen clearly to their words and pray from my heart, not from a memorized list. To surrender my will each day and let God’s agenda become my agenda. To give of myself however God wants me to, instead of trying to control the circumstances in favor of my ideas on how they should be. To learn to look at these interruptions, difficult people, and trying circumstances as ways for my own brokenness to be revealed and healed.
To see myself reflected in their stories and for their stories to be mirrored in mine.
To come to a place of true understanding of Jesus’s sermon on the mount – “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:1-12).
To know what it feels like to harbor a shattered heart, but also to celebrate the sheer joy of feeling the Father’s comfort. To discover the HOPE of healing.
I had a choice – give this THING to God or to remain a broken and bitter woman.
The tears flowed as I poured my heart out to God. “Father, have mercy on me!”
It’s a slow process for me. I move forward, but then I’ll get distracted and miss a point. This always makes pray for God’s help.
The journey helps me remember that HOPE is all around me. Yes, hope for me to receive, but more importantly, hope for me to share and give.
I faced brokenness in an entirely new way. A pain so deep that I honestly doubted I would ever be free from it. Yet, in spite of it all, God renewed my hope, my faith, and my trust in Him.
I encourage you to never be afraid of those dark times because God is always with you. He is faithful to strengthen you and He will bring His light to your heart when you least expect it.
So, I’m thankful for the song. It brought healing and light into my heart. And I’d like to share it with you now:
Prayer: Father, although we don’t look forward to the times of pain, we understand that we can grow spiritually if we keep our trust in You. Give us the courage we need to endure. Show us what the brokenness reveals. Use our stories to help others and to bring glory to Your name. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
Maybe there is a song that brought healing to you. A song that encourages you when you are in that dark spot. Would you like to share it?