Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Striving to Surrender

On Friday, I began a very time-intensive project at work. Between yesterday and today I have put in 21 hours, most of them on this project. It is finally drawing to a close and as I got in my car to leave work, I was so relieved thinking about going home and NOT working tonight. I even thought, "Hey, maybe I'll write something." I have the radio pre-set in my car to JoyFM. I thought about turning a book on to listen to on the drive home. But then the song Control by Tenth Avenue North came and and I just love that song. So, I decided I would just leave it and listen to music on the way home. The song immediately reminded me of that word I wrote about-the one for 2018 that was on my heart. 

Surrender. 

What better reminder than a song named Control that talks solely about giving up control! I felt such a strong sense of comfort listening to that tonight. I was convinced that when I got home I would write about that song and share it. 

I was wrong.

Three songs into my drive home, a slow and rhythmic song began playing. I instantly sat up a little straighter and listened a little harder, as I tend to do when a song comes on that I know I've never heard before. I glanced at the stereo and saw it was Hillsong. And my first thought was "That's pretty, but where is the build?" 

Do you know what I'm talking about?

That build that tends to always exist in a song by a worship band?

The one where the melody tends to repeat over and over, and eventually leads into bigger music swells and profound lyrics?

That's the build I am talking about.

The one that I hoped would exist in this song.

And then, I heard it.

But not in the way I was expecting.

Instead, it was the words alone that I noticed. The intensity in the music picked up some, but the words are what took me by surprise.  Each line continued to rend my heart. 

I was overcome.

The feeling of relief.

And gratitude.

And peace.

And feeling loved so much more than should be possible.

That's how this song affected me.


I was so exhausted when I left work tonight. Truth be told, I'm still exhausted. But my heart, which was heavy with anxiety and consumed with this work project and its outcome, is a hundred billion times lighter than it was.  It began like this:

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

I can't fully explain it.  An overwhelming peace washed over me, as my heart swelled in agreement to those words. If the stars were made to worship, so will I. If creation sings your praises so will I. It seemed to put things into perspective for me. To show me how small my worries and concerns are in the grand scheme of things.

This is reassuring.

This is peace to me.

God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice
And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace

The tears began to flow in earnest when I heard these next lines.  I just smiled. My heart was so overcome with emotion in that moment, hearing these words.

If creation still obeys You so will
So will I
So will I
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

And then things got real. God took this message that I so desperately needed to hear and drove it home.

Into my life in that moment.

Into my anxiety.

Into my struggles.

Into my past.

Into the unknown.

God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here

It's funny to me that even after all of this, God still had more to say. As if he wanted to emphasize that I needed to surrender.

If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind


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