Sunday, February 10, 2013

How He Loves

I'm married to a worship leader, so whether I like it or not, I am constantly challenged with new songs - we sing them in the car, talk about the lyrics, play them at band practice, etc. A few years ago, my favorite worship leader introduced me to this song. From the get go, I couldn't stand it. We talked about it and then never discussed it again, he never sang it around me, he never asked me to play it, and the radio station was immediately switched when it came on.

About a year ago, my favorite worship leader temporarily lost his position as my favorite because he said he was going to play it at church. In fact, he said he needed to play it - the Spirit had lead him to the song and thematically it fit perfectly. If I'm remembering correctly, it was the invitation song and I left before invitation strictly because I did not want to hear it. Do I have your interest peaked yet?

If you are familiar with my story and the song, you may already know my problem with the song, 4 words -
loves like a hurricane
In August 2005, a hurricane did not love me and I did not love it. It robbed me of most of my earthly possessions, strained earthly relationships, and in essence turned my world upside down. More than seven years later, you would think I'd be over it and in a lot of ways I am but it is still a marker in my life that will always be there. For about the first year after the hurricane, I couldn't ever utter the word "hurricane" and instead called it "the sleepover" because I ended up bouncing from house to house until things settled down in December when I got married.

A few weeks ago, I received my band assignment and looked up the songs we would be playing the upcoming Sunday. I asked my favorite-again worship leader if he was out of his mind, and he assured me that again the Spirit had led him to the song and he had faith that I could play through it. I had about a week to wrap my mind around it and prepare my heart for it. I love to worship Jesus and I'm a big believer that your face shows your heart when worshipping Jesus. In other words, I don't believe you can worship Jesus with a scowl on your face - it's impossible to worship the King of Kings with a scowl, smiles only please. So I had to ask myself - can I worship Jesus and my face reflect the joy of the Lord rather than the pain and despair of the hurricane?

So practice came and I did okay, but let's face it practice is practice. Very few if any participants attend our practice sessions, so no one was really looking at my facial expressions during said song. Throughout the week, I talked about the song with my favorite worship leader. One particular question he asked me was "do you hate the whole song or just the one phrase?" I thought about it and it was just those four words - if only I could remove those four words, life would be much better.

If you don't mind, I'm going to be theological for a second. Life is sometimes similar to my relationship with this song - there are just parts (sometimes little and sometimes big) that I would like to remove, alter, or somehow change so that I feel better and deal with so to speak. These things include but are not limited to things like hurricanes, financial hardships, the timing of things, a bad day, a strained relationship, a word I wish I had not spoken, etc. In addition, if I reflect on the other words of this song, I am blown away by its promises and reminders of the Lord and His character.

And oh, how He loves us oh,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, 
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

Oh how he loves, Yeah, He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us, Oh! how He loves us, Oh! how He loves.

And we are His portion and He is our prize, 
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.

And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way...

Oh, how He loves us oh, Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all, How He loves

If I'm able to stop for just a moment and look past those four words, I can see the beauty in the song. For a while I couldn't stop for a moment and the first line of the song sent me running in the opposite direction. Now all these years later, I am able to see past the hardships to see the beauty. And in life, I believe we reach a point where we're able to see past the hardships and see the beauty in, among, and after the hardship.

I'm not in the business of writing songs, but my favorite worship leader is. He too was affected by the hurricane and if I was a bettin' woman, I'd say he probably will never write a song with the word 'hurricane' in it. However, the truth remains - if I can sing past those four words, I see the beauty in the Lord and His love for me!

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