Posted in Christian Life & Theology

I Could Sing of Your Love Forever: The Hardest Time to Surrender

Today is the day of Resurrection, according to the Christian tradition. I’m spending my early morning hours listening to worship music. Last summer, Shane & Shane released an album of Christian classics appropriately titled “Vintage” and the song “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” is playing. I find myself humming along while Googling Rich Mullins. I found a quote of his in which he says that “the hardest thing for a Christian to do is surrender.” And with the words “I could sing of Your love forever” echoing in my ears, this question springs to the forefront of my mind:

Could you surrender to God and truly, with your whole heart, say “I could sing of your love forever” the moment after you sin, when surrendering to God is the hardest? When you’d rather hide and run than “come boldly to the throne of grace”?

Maybe that’s just my issue and you don’t struggle with that. Maybe you run straight to God after repenting and it doesn’t take you hours or days to come to Him like it does for me. Good on you. I’m not there yet.

Letting the Lyrics Settle In

Considering what day it is, and coupled with Rich Mullins’ quote, it’s easy to see why he would come to the conclusion that surrendering is hard. All of us would run from the cross. We don’t have it in us to surrender, much less love God. I think that’s what the songwriter is getting at. He gleefully declares “I could sing of your love forever” because he knows that it’s only by the love of God and the demonstration of His power by rising from the dead that he has any chance of redemption, lasting love, or everlasting hope.

The hardest thing for a Christian to do is surrender.

Rich Mullins

A Change of Heart

Rich Mullins is right. It’s hard to surrender to God. I have spent much of my relationship with God reacting out of fear and condemnation despite what the Bible says about my status as a child of God.

Romans 8:1 says this: “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus.” This is possible not just because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross—as that’s only half of the equation—but because He rose from the dead, proving that He alone is God and has power over all, even death itself. When I contemplate that, I am not afraid of punishment, nor do I feel ostracized or condemned. I can rest in my Savior’s power over death and immense love for me. I can gladly join in with the songwriter and sing “I could sing of Your love forever!”

Posted in Poetry & Mere Musings

Sometimes It Doesn’t Work

The therapist says, “Stay with me.”

What he means is “don’t dissociate.”

Don’t let the midnight swallow you whole

and make you forget how beautiful the sunrise is.

“Don’t let his words papercut your skin

and transform it to burnt ashes

to be tossed in some lonely, cold fire later.”

He means, don’t dance with the devil, or even fight him

Slit his throat.”

 

And most days, I do.

Most days, I’m more demon slayer than distressed damsel,

more conqueror than conquest.

But tonight, in the quiet, 

I let the silence get to me. 

I let it eat my shard sliver of confidence

in a silent surrender.

 

Swinging between two worlds,

of times long past and should-be forgotten,

and of the times here and now,

with the therapist and my trauma I can’t trample.

 

And God says, “My grace is sufficient 

and my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”

God’s grace is sufficient

and the therapist tells me, “don’t dissociate, stay here.”

Are they mutually exclusive? Complementary? 

Like a wing’d creature still moves 

through the azure sky with hurting wings, 

I can still be made strong in my weakness.

Maybe the therapist was right.

Perhaps God knows what He’s doing. 

All I have to do is trust the process.

 

But that’s hard right now.

So tonight, I’ll cry and wash away 

the trauma with tears and trepidation,

wake up in the morning, and scream into a pillow.

Because sometimes, it just doesn’t work.

Posted in Christian Life & Theology

Jesus and His Trauma

“Let this cup pass from me… nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.” The immortal becomes mortal. The beloved Son of the Creator is clothed in human flesh that is torn, bleeding, sweating, and hurting as it is nailed to a wooden cross. His friends have abandoned him, hidden away, scared for their lives and only concerned for their own safety.

Lonely, dehydrated Son of man bearing the weight of every wrong since time began. A crowd of angry people cheering for his death. Mocking him as the crown of thorns presses deeper into his skull, eyes struggling to blink away the blood that falls.

A plea of forgiveness. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Mind-boggling, considering the situation.

An excruciating pull of the body upwards to take a labored breath. Blistered, bloody feet pushing into rusty nails. A sharp, quick intake of oxygen. A bruised body slumps back down, if only to relieve some pressure for just a millisecond.

A seemingly severed connection. A man crying out to his God, his Judge. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Lost love. Abandoned. An innocent lamb slain for the sin sacrifice.

Death. Silence in Heaven. Chaos on Earth. A torn temple veil. Last words. “Father into Your hands I commit my spirit.”