Tag Archives: Music

Breaking You — Music Mondays

Over the last year and a half or so I have fallen in love with the music of singer/songwriter Audrey Assad. I own both of her albums and listen to them often. Yet the other night I was struck in a new way by one of her songs that I was very familiar with. The song is called Breaking You and it is from her second album, Heart.

What struck me about it is that it is the perfect song for those who are living with RAD. I honestly don’t know how I’ve never made the connection before, but it resonates with me in a new way because of how closely it portrays the pain, emotional stress, and realities of those who live with invisible autoimmune diseases. For those of you who don’t know what that’s like, I hope you are able to empathize as you listen to the song. For those of you who do know, I hope you find comfort in this song. Audrey concludes the song beautifully. That our hope lies not in our health or in our situation, but rather in Christ alone. That one of the great promises for those who suffer is that Christ also suffered for us and knows what we are going through. But most importantly, that because He suffered He has provided a way for us to spend eternity with Him with no suffering!

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (2 Corinthians 4:16-17 ESV)

You’ve been let down, it’s true
Your pain is so easy to see
You’re haunted by your history
And it feels like you’ve got no escape

Your life left you high and dry
You used to be sure of yourself
But then your whole world went to hell
And tomorrow looks just like today

So you lie on your bed and you 
Won’t let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, 
Feeling that fear and it’s killing you
Don’t you know that it’s killing me too?
‘Cause your heartbreak is breaking you

I miss the light in your eyes
The home that I’d found in your arms
Right now you don’t know who you are
But I won’t give up on you

But you lie on your bed and you 
Won’t let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, 
Feeling that fear and it’s killing you
Don’t you know that it’s killing me too?
‘Cause your heartbreak is breaking you

And you’ve lost your fire
And your flame’s gone out and you’re down on your knees
‘Cause your life is not what you thought it would be

Lift up your head
Help is on the way
And it won’t pass you by
You just got to reach out a hand
And lift up your eyes
Love is on the way
And it won’t pass you by
You just got to reach out your hands
And lift up your head
Because love is on His way
He won’t pass you by
You just got to reach out your hands 

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Filed under Blessings, God, Music, RAD, Rheum

The Silence of God – Music Mondays

Not quite sure how my love of music hasn’t propelled me to do this prior, but I plan on making this a regular feature on the blog. Probably not every week, but my intention is to frequently focus on one song and why I like it or why it’s significant to me. The only guarantee is that the genres will likely be broad.

This week’s post is the song The Silence of God by singer/songwriter/author Andrew Peterson. Peterson is one of the greatest Christian songwriters of our generation though he is not necessarily well know in mainstream Christian music. He has a rare depth and poetry in his lyrics that convey a bare-bone honest look at the intersecting struggles of life and faith. The Silence of God is from his album Love and Thunder.

In the beginning of the first verse Peterson paints the soul of one who is in deep sorrow and pain. The soul of one who is in such heartache that they question their own beliefs and what is real. In doing so he pulls me to Scriptures like Psalm 22:1 and Psalm 42:5. Or to the passage of Psalm 45 where the psalmist’s anguished cry for God is likened to a “deer that pants for water” and tears that are his sustenance in day or night. Peterson continues to pull from the Psalms as he brilliantly uses the word “bleating” to draw us to Psalm 23 and the reminder that we are God’s sheep and he is our shepherd. Yet the verse ends without resolution of the pain as God remains silent.

Verse 1

It’s enough to drive a man crazy. It’ll break a man’s faith,
It’s enough to make him wonder, if he’s been sane.
When he’s bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod,
And the heavens’ only answer is the silence of God.

The second verse continues the theme of God’s silence and again we feel the pain of one who is in incredible sorrow. Peterson then draws from one of the great passages and promises of the Bible by referencing Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” There seems to be a contradiction in what Peterson is saying and what the Bible says when Scripture says, “my burden is light” and Peterson says, “but this burden is not“. Yet I think that Peterson is conveying that the burden is not necessarily the trial, but rather that the burden is that God seems to be silent and distant. That his tears may as well be falling in vain.

Verse 2

And it’ll shake a man’s timbers when he loses his heart,
When he has to remember what broke him apart.
And this yoke may be easy, but this burden is not,
And the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God.

As powerful and deep as the first verses are, the bridge goes even further. It can be hard to hear others talk of how their life is relatively pain free when your own life is crushed and the soul has been trampled. I think there is warning here as well that we extend grace and compassion to those who are hurting. That we season our words with love to those who are in despair and not answer them glibly.

Bridge

If a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob,
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they’ve got,
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that Cross,
What about the times when even followers get lost?
‘Cause we all get lost sometimes.

Verses three and four close out the song beautifully by showing us the truth of Hebrews 4:15-16 that Jesus suffered as we do yet without sin. That at times it may seem that the heavens are silent and in those moments we can find comfort knowing that Christ himself faced God’s silence in Gethsemane prior to his death. Yet ultimately the perfect salve for the wounded soul of a Christian is that the heart that is hurting is the same heart that has been purchased by the blood of Christ. When faced with the unbearable and not hearing heavens comfort, would that we cast ourselves on the promise of Salvation that we have in Christ alone. And so the truths of Romans 8:31-39 — specifically verses 38-39 — ring loud and clear! “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Verse 3

There’s a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll,
In the hills of Kentucky all quiet and cold.
And He’s kneeling in the garden silent as a stone,
And all His friends are sleeping and He’s weeping all alone,

Verse 4

And the man of all sorrows, He never forgot,
What sorrow is carried, by the hearts that He bought.
So when the questions dissolve, into the silence of God,
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not.
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not,
In the holy, lonesome echo, of the silence of God.

This song often crushes me to tears. I connect with it because in many ways I have felt as if the heavens have been silent for me over the last few years. The struggle with worry and fears about Kim’s and my dad’s health, genuine heartache over saying goodbyes to dear friends, and the every moment battles with my own sinful nature cause me to cry within, “How long God?” Yet heaven remains silent. And so I fall once again on the only thing I know for sure, the promises I have in Christ alone.

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Bringing Me Back Home

Last year I was introduced to the incredible music of Michael Gungor and his band known simply as Gungor. Their album Beautiful Things captivated me with it’s lyrical depth, complex instrumentation, and overall uniformity from track to track. (Plus he has a cellist in the band. That is always worth several bonus points.) For those who love music there always seems to be certain songs that capture in an instant the essence of where life has you. Those songs pull and draw you in and beg to be listened to over and over again. The song Please Be My Strength is one of those songs for me. It is a heart cry of desperation to God to do what I cannot do. Lyrics of the song are in bold italics. My commentary is interjected throughout.

I’ve tried to stand my ground
I’ve tried to understand
but I can’t seem to find my faith again

like water on the sand
or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short 

I love the way this song begins with the first verse focusing on all the “I” things I’ve tried and cannot do. Often on my faith pilgrimage I find myself trying to live out my faith all on my own. That though my head and the confession of my mouth would say otherwise, I become self-reliant in my Christian walk. Surprise! I become me-focused. My faith actually becomes me trying to live out my own faith without God. It never works and the futility in trying to do so is pictured in the lyrics of trying to hold “water on the sand” or “grasping the wind”. It can’t be done. My faith is not mine.

Please be my strength
Please be my strenth
I don’t have anymore
I don’t have anymore

Perfect simplicity. The chorus reminds me of the words of Christ in this scene, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” (Mark 10:15-16 ESV) It’s a fantastic mental image of our need of Him. Who hasn’t experienced the cry of a young child with arms upward pleading to be carried because they can’t walk anymore? And this is what Christ asks of us. To come with arms outstretched to Him in desperation when we have come to end of our rope, begging Him to provide for us His strength when we realize our strength is powerless.

I’m looking for a place
where I can plant my faith
one thing I know for sure

I cannot create it
I cannot sustain it
It’s Your love that’s keeping me

This verse helps to reorient my mind on the complete sufficiency of Christ. That the faith I have is given by Him, rooted in Him, cultivated by Him, and kept by Him. I was drawn to Him with nothing and continue in His power alone. “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:11-14 ESV)

Please be my strength…

At my final breath
I hope that I can say
I’ve fought the good fight of faith

I pray Your glory shines
in this doubting heart of mine
and all would know that You

The last verse gives comfort by pointing to the hope of Christ in us. That “. . . He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 ESV) That when our hearts are doubting and our faith grows incredibly weak, that it is He who strengthens and sustains. “. . . I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 ESV) That the Gospel we are to live daily is not our strength, but of us in Him and He in us all to the glory of God. (Colossians 1:24-29) Some of Paul’s last words to us as death approached him were, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ESV) And just in case we should think that Paul is any way talking about some sort of self-sufficiency, he then points out in 2 Timothy 4:17-18 that it is the Lord that strengthens, rescues, and safely brings him home.

You are my strength
You and You alone
You and You alone
Keep bringing me back home

The final words of the song and we are introduced to the hook, “keep bringing me back home.” These are the words that I’ve used for the name of my blog because they resonate so deeply within me. Five words that I’ve viewed in my own life from multiple facets. When I fight with providing my own faith, He brings me back to the home of His faith. When I struggle with selfishness, He brings me back to the home of service and gratitude. When weariness overcomes it is He that whispers, “Come home and find shelter under My wings.” In my everyday prodigal journeys it is His love that draws me back home where He welcomes me again and trades out my rags of sinful wandering for the righteous robes of His son. Ultimately, He is working in me a journey of continual resting in Him until the day comes when He brings me Home forever. And then there will be no bringing me back, I will simply be Home.

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