I will be the first to admit that I shy away from contemporary christian music. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of music reaching people and spurring them on in their faith, it just seldom has that affect on me. It seems that, musically, it always leaves something to be desired. For me. There are plenty of musicians who have made statements of faith who are incredibly talented, but I’m not talking about them. So, I do my best to fill my ipod full of those people when traveling in the car. Except, my kid’s obsession with music has placed my ipod high in demand and it’s currently sitting in her room, in her crib ready for her nap. Which left me music-less in my recent jaunt to the supermarket, forced to tune in to the radio. And this song came on. I wasn’t really listening at first, but the chorus caught my attention. And then it made me sad. And then angry. And then sad all over again. So sad, in fact, that I had a nightmare about it last night and I realized that I had no other option other than to flesh it out in print. As a disclaimer, if you were/are/will be touched by the song I’m about to speak of, this is not to discredit your experience. I’m glad that perhaps you were able to see above the things that irked me.
Nothing has made God’s love clearer to me than becoming a parent. The Bible is full of illustrations relating God’s love for us as one of a Father to His child. But I never fully grasped the depth of that love until becoming a parent myself. When my daughter cries, my heart is broken. Literally. Rich will attest that my eyes fill when she cries, even though I know full well it is just because she’s hungry or tired and not at all in any pain. It awes me that God feels the same way about me-even stronger. That’s why this song struck such a chord in me. And here’s why:
“We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah”
When I pour out my heart to God in prayer, worship, or otherwise, I like to think He’s empathizing. That His heart hears mine. That He is filled with compassion and his heart is broken just like mine is when my own child is hurting. (Psalm 34:18) I think these things because they’re Biblical, they’re what I’ve been taught by people I trust, and it’s what I’ve learned of God’s character over the last few years through my own experience of really seeking Him. I recognize that there are Biblical references which infer that a broken heart is what God is looking for. That’s not the type of brokeness I am referring to in the following paragraphs. And just in case you were mislead by all of my previous posts on baby poop and Mom shorts,this is not a dissertation on the exegesis of scripture- I’m not qualified or smart enough to provide an accurate account. This is just a reflection on my gut reaction to something I heard, and my desire to clarify for my own sanity.
When you pour your miseries to God, He does not just hear a lovely tune and then proceeds to go on with His day. He really hears you. Hears your heart. Feels your anguish. Empathizes with your pain. Yes, He is glad when you come to Him, just as a parent is glad when their child chooses to come to them in crisis instead of going elsewhere or trying t0 solve it on their own -but no good parent is glad to find their child in crisis in the first place.
I have no doubt that this song was crafted to encourage. I am in no way, shape or form making a derogatory statement about the artist’s intention or the artist herself. It just stood out to me that for someone who doesn’t know the Bible very well, who may not believe that God is a caring, loving God- that this could very well send out a terribly incorrect message about the nature of my Father. And that makes me sadder than anything.
Our dark places, our sacrifices, our heartbreaks are not “better than a Hallelujah” because he is vindictive, believes in teaching us “lessons the hard way” in order to watch us suffer or reveals in the sadness of His people. God loves to see His people reap His blessings and share them with others and loves when we bring to Him all of our insecurities, sadness and darkest moments because He so desperately wants to overcome them for us.
How amazing is that?