This has been quite the year with a lot of personal struggles and challenges. It started the first week of January and hasn’t let up yet. God speaks to me a lot through music. For a while in my foundational years it seemed every major turning point in my life came at a Christian rock concert and through music. While I’ve matured well past that now, God still uses the ‘old stand-by’ just when I need it.
One song in particular that He’s used this year is I Lift My Hands by Chris Tomlin. The chorus goes like this:
I lift my hands to believe again / You are my refuge, You are my strength / As I pour out my heart These things, I remember / You are faithful, God, forever
The year started with some very challenging events that were very scary. Still are as it’s not resolved. I cried myself to sleep many a night in January. I cried a river of tears and swam an ocean of fear. And yet this ‘crazy calm’ still covered me that made me sound insane to some. At times I was actually able to smile and almost laugh because it just made no sense that I had THAT much peace! Then there were many weeks where I just cried at church during ministry time. It was all I knew to do. And the line that kept giving me comfort – permission – was simply this: “As I pour my heart these things I remember / You are faithful God forever / Let faith arise.”
Those 2 simple lines told me it was OK to ‘pour out my heart.’ Psalm 62:8 says the same thing: “Trust Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him, for God is a refuge for us.” I clung to that verse and that lyric like my life depended on it. My sanity did!
Then there’s verse 1 of the song:
Be still, there is a healer / His love is deeper than the sea / His mercy, it is unfailing / His arms are fortress for the weak
I’ve been weak this year. Oh, on the outside I may look strong to people and at times I even feel strong, but I’ve gone toe-to-toe with fear this year and we’ve had some knock-down, drag out fights. Had another one today. And I’m not sure whose ahead on the rounds. I just know I feel pretty beat up & tired.
And then that song strikes out of the clear blue. A couple months ago we got some bad news about the events of January. I went to sleep that night and heard the last line of the song: “Let faith arise / Let faith arise / Let faith arise.” OK, God….I’ll lift my hands again in a symbolic gesture of trusting You. And I went to sleep. Fearful yet hanging on to the truth that He is faithful. Forever.
Something else happened shortly thereafter. We sang the song in church. Then someone used that line in an email of encouragement to me. She signed it ‘Let faith arise, sister.’ Then I heard it on the radio the following week. I think Someone was trying to give me a message because my faith was certainly not feeling strong.
I BANK on that one line ‘YOU ARE FAITHFUL GOD FOREVER!’ He knows exactly what is going on. He knew from the moment it happened and has a plan that He will work for His good and His glory. It doesn’t matter if I believe He’s faithful. HE IS FAITHFUL! Now, my belief sure helps in the peace department, but His faithfulness doesn’t rely on my faith. Thank God for that!
I don’t know what you’re going through. I’m just trying to hang on & survive all I’M going through. January was just the start and it’s only intensified in a variety of avenues since, and there’s no real end in sight. If anything, I see yet another bend & curve in the road. The enemy is hitting me from every side with everything he can think of. I haven’t had this rough of a year in quite some time. Yet this one thing remains and the song says it best. He wants me to lift my hands (read: take my hands off the wheel & surrender control) and believe again, that He is my refuge and He is my strength. I can pour out my heart – He WANTS me to pour out my heart. He TELLS me to pour out my heart. AND He wants me to remember this one thing: HE IS FAITHFUL FOREVER! Regardless of the chaos around me. Regardless of the uncertainty. HE IS FAITHFUL FOREVER! Period.
I’ve seen Him working in the midst of this situation. I’ve seen Him answer VERY specific prayer. I’ve seen Him drawing others closer to Him. Do I wish I could ‘fix’ it?! You BET I do! But it’s out of my hands…literally AND figuratively. He simply wants me to lift my hands…again and again and again…every time that living sacrifice crawls off the altar. Every time fear and I slug it out and I’m exhausted from another round. Every time I begin to doubt or get distracted. People ask how I’m doing and I say ‘OK, as long as I keep those holy blinders on.’ I know when they’re off. And so do others. I’m trying to put them back on right now as I type.
Whatever you’re going through…as you pour out your heart these things please remember…HE IS FAITHFUL GOD FOREVER. Let faith arise!