A couple weeks ago, I went to a Bethel Music Worship Night hosted at our church.
“My past embraced
My sin forgiven
I’m blameless in Your sight
My history rewritten
You delight in mercy
Mercy triumphs over judgment
Oh Love, great Love
Fear cannot be found in You
There will never be a day
You’re uncertain of the ones You choose
So I will wake
And spend days
Loving the One
Who raised me up
From death to life
From wrong to right
You’re making all things beautiful”
Reading them on a blog page doesn’t quite do it justice, but hear me out. After about 30 seconds of the song playing and hearing the lyrics in the moment, I was wrecked. That song shot me straight to the core in a way I’d only ever experienced once before.
Ironically, that one other time was at another Bethel worship night, the first time I heard Cook’s previous single, “You Make Me Brave”. A rather memorable, identifiable moment of when my faith was reignited. All I can say, is that music group has such a powerful way of fostering an atmosphere of worship that is as real and raw as it is divine and on fire.
You’d better believe God shows up for me personally in these moments of worship, but He always has me lift my head to scan the room; noticing that He not only shows up for me, but for the thousands of other people that fill the auditorium. Every time, he reminds me that the marrow of life is, yes, being in absolute relationship and communion with Him, but also in fighting for the people around us.
As the song began that evening, I wasn’t even really thinking about me. I hadn’t really gotten my “worship flow” on yet, you could say [HA]. To be honest, I was actually feeling overly confident about my “progress” and current state in life—taking all the credit as my own. “I’m fine, been there, gotten over that. All good over here. Ain’t no thing.”
Well let me be the first to break it to you: yesterday’s breakthrough is today’s ego trip.
As the lyrics continued pouring out, they cut right through to literally the depths of my soul.
“From death to life
From wrong to right…
When I hear that bit of lyrics I can’t help think about the times in my life I felt “dead”. Dead spiritually, emotionally, physically, relationally. The times I felt so desperately inescapable and mostly the times I couldn’t get out of my own head. The times anxiety and dread ruled my life.
The days I’d walk around campus or the Baltimore Harbor, heavy-hearted, eyes sunken, tears streaming down my face, confusion, indecision, and restlessness creating a fog thicker than a down comforter. Opaque. Blank. Empty.
I’d sit at the dock’s edge, feet hanging over the water and my reflection staring back at me. No way out, no end to the tireless routine. I think of how dead, how wrong—how dead wrong I felt about anything and everything. Questioning, second guessing, calculating, searching–searching for something to grab on to. Something to ground. Something certain.
You’re making all things beautiful.
As the song went on, I started thinking about how Cook intentionally used the word ‘making’. Not ‘made’ or ‘will make’. But as in the action of still doing. The present. Not finished, but a work in progress. Growth. Here and now.
“So I will wake and spend my days
Loving the One who has raised me up.”
To me, these lines speak of: purpose, praise, & worship.
In a state of total reflection, awe, & surrender, I became overwhelmed by what He’s taken from my then, to create my now. How He’s taken complete void and weakness to breath fullness and strength into my spirit I wouldn’t otherwise know.
According to scholar, James K.A Smith, authentic Christian worship is the one thing on the planet that through the act of doing and pouring out, is actually creating a doing and pouring back into you.
“You delight in showing mercy
And mercy triumphs over judgment
There will never be a day you’re uncertain of the ones you choose.“
As in you and me. No big deal, the creator of the Universe CHOOSES us. In our brokenness, shame, insecurity & imperfection. He DESIRES us. There will never be a day, time, or moment we have to feel lost or alone. He knows what it’s like to feel rejection, to feel judgement, to feel tormented [Hebrews 4:15-16, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, John 3:18, Hosea 6:6]. And with that, He’s making all things new.
H a l l e l u j a h s are the [not-actually-that-complicated] language of Heaven, and the language we must learn to cultivate on Earth. In our conversations, in our worship, and in our prayers.
p – praise [ first & foremost, no matter what]
r – [for a revelation of] reverence
a – [to receive] assurance [of heart]
[ because ]
Y ou [Yahweh]
Prayer changes the world because prayer changes us.
Life is absolutely crazy. It’s filled with these insane highs and lows, moments of complete and utter fear, followed by absolute, exuberant and incomprehensible love and surety. Like heart beating, stomach churning, eyes watering cathartic sadness + happiness. A range of emotions that keep us feeling simultaneously insane and alive.
Often, they’re fueled by people. In our connections, reflections, intimacy, and mostly–testing. It’s the seasons of testing that produce our testimony.
The sharing of our testimony sparks an energy. This energy produces an endurance for the God-ordained race we’re each called to run. It enables vision and catapults us into action.
The best part? Every ounce of the unwritten story we’re painstakingly afraid of, is plotted, charted, and finished. Nothing is random, nothing is coincidence. It’s about seeing each of these fleeting moments as growth moments; divine intervention, sometimes doors opening, sometimes doors slamming, sometimes sprinting ahead, sometimes wheels spinning in place. Yet all of them, every ounce of it, points to the creation and culmination of something…
“There’s this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wants you to know there’s no reason to be afraid, ever.”
Because even in our smallest moments, we hold the power to confront the greatest of waves. “The bravest, most fearless thing we can do is keep showing up with love and grace and joy in our real, right-now lives” (Sarah Besse).
Because You delight in mercy,
Mercy triumphs over judgment,
Fear cannot be found in You.
As the song came to a close, I dried my eyes, thinking:
Promising myself to stop looking back, and keep living anew. You’re m a k i n g all things beautiful .
He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:5 ESV