Spotlight

There’s a time and a season for everything- even music.  Sometimes we prefer calm, peaceful strains of Mozart or Vivaldi, other times we need hard and abrasive energy of rock.  I have times when I prefer something that provokes memories- either to confront them and forgive, or to wrap myself in comfort of something I miss.  It’s not always Christian, but even though I still love a lot of genres, I find myself drifting back between those songs with a real message, where the spiritual can be found in the most unlikely secular songs.  Other times, I need a real message of hope, but find some Christian music just too fluffy, even more worldly and mindless than some secular music.

But then there are times when Christian songs have both the reality of those hard rock songs, with the scriptural truths that surpass the spiritual and worldly of some Christian feel good stuff.

When it comes to Christian music, there are so many styles and seasons to be found- and sometimes we need the real… to know that we’re not alone, to be reminded that even though we may not feel Him, God is ever present, even where we are. And so are others.

Last week I shared how some of the music we’ve highlighted in our spotlights have really been my ‘go to’ songs to help me through a lot of things these past years.  I hear some lyrics and they are mine- the words I would say if I could.

While I want to shine the spotlight on the great band Casting Crowns, I want to focus more on lyrics from two songs which have brought incredible peace, healing and reminding to not just me but so many who’ve listened to their music.

About the music, Mark Hall, lead singer (and youth pastor) observes,  “Every song I’ve ever written was not only a Bible study I’ve taught, but also a situation I’ve lived.

When someone lives the experiences, the stories they share are real, and easy to relate to. It doesn’t matter that all circumstances may be different, but there is enough of the experience that is still shared, the spiritual, physical and mental emotions are very much the same.

The fact that joy and healing can be found in painful circumstances is sometimes not easily learned, but by witnessing others finding ways to hold onto joy through even the hardest times is something we all can benefit from.  That’s why I love this band’s music. Even if not every song has a story, we can see our own stories in the lyrics.

Mark on writing the song “Praise You in the Storm” witnessed the worship that came through a family who had lost their little girl to cancer. He reminded his youth group that the Book of Joy from the Bible, was written from prison.  And it’s true as he says, “Even though today is bad, God is still good.”

It’s not easy to keep hold of that truth every day, but the more I listen to the songs of my heart, I am reminded that God is still good and that,

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will.

When Micheal died, I found myself having to be the strong one (again) for so many others, when all I wanted to do was lay down where I stood and stay there.  Always having to be the strong one through so much of my life was grating on my nerves and making me feel like a hypocrite when inside all I am a scared, weak and lonely child. And it was wearing me out.

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

I  had to let it go and just find myself in the strong arms of my Father and Savior, and while I still had to be strong for others, His strength supplied me and sustained me.  When I listened to more songs and experienced His peace and grace, love from people He had put in my path over the years, I was able to believe…

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands.

Another source of comfort for emotional, physical and spiritual weariness can be found in the Psalms of David.

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 43:5

So often my spirit, my soul feels down, fearful and anxious. It’s hard when there’s no real plans but those made for survival and/or out of necessity, but the next bend is hidden and you have no idea where the road you’re travelling will take.

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down

There are so many times that we’re the person who encourages and tries to help others through their darkest times, finding verses and stories that we hope will comfort and heal.  When it happens to us though, that’s when we find out what we’re made of.

The song Oh My Soul was written by Mark when he had cancer.   “There wasn’t really any new truth for me to learn, it was just walking in the truth that I already knew. A lot of times our friends that are hurting don’t really need a new sermon, they just need to know that you’re with them, that you love them. Sit with me, cry with me, just be here. You don’t have to fix it.”

So many of the circumstances we find ourselves in, no matter what they are, we don’t necessarily need someone to fix it. We just need someone to be there. And a reminder that

Here and now
You can be honest
I won’t try to promise that someday it all works out
‘Cause this is the valley

And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone

The more I learn and grow through the seasons of life, the more I understand that like those heroes of the faith, God may, but He may not make things work out in this life. But we can be sure that someday regardless, we will understand just what He did with all our tears and the beauty He made with them.

And it is going to be so very beautiful.

Have a blessed Sunday all-