So, to be completely honest, I’m not quite ready to be 100% transparent with you.  Sharing what I have learned means sharing how I learned it, and that can be a little scary.  Can I let you fill in your own context this time?

Maybe it will be more meaningful to you if I describe how I felt, and let you relate that to some event or time in your life.  I suspect you have been there, at least to some extent.  To be fair, this world affords us the opportunity to enjoy many beautiful things, but sometimes it just kicks you.  Hard.  

In this moment, in preparation for this lesson, I had been kicked – hard.  Coming home from work to my apartment, I was alone and free to feel what I had been avoiding feeling all day long for several months.  Sorrow and betrayal had thoroughly exhausted me.  I felt stupid.  I felt unlovable.  I felt ashamed.  I felt angry. More than anything I felt hopeless.  Have you ever been there, in such a suffocating situation that you honestly can’t see a future of any kind?  That was me.  I entertained thoughts of suicide, but I couldn’t think of a way to make sure that everyone would believe it had been an accident.  I couldn’t cause that kind of pain.  It’s possible that the realization of this actually made me feel more trapped, more hopeless.

I might have been crying.  Looking back that seems irrelevant.  I simply remember not even having the physical strength to sit upright.  Involuntarily my body slid toward the ground. and I lay there, sincerely unable to lift myself off the floor.  What made it all just a little worse was that, at that time, I was volunteering with a Jr. High youth group at a little church just up the road.  I was expected there in about an hour, and there was no possible way my body could get off the floor and walk that distance.  I lay helpless, hopeless.

image courtesy of @keirsten_c

“God, I need you.  Those kids need me.  I just need to be able to get up off this stupid floor.”  My mind was awakening, listening for a response, searching my memories, sorting through thoughts, seeking guidance.  What was that story my cousin had shared with me years ago? In a moment of helpless confusion, all she could think to do was sing Jesus Loves Me.  I was pretty sure I at least had the strength to sing.  And so, lying spent on my living room floor, I began.  Barely above a whisper, I sang, “Jesus loves me. This I know.  For the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to him belong.  We are weak, but he is strong.” If the tears had not been present before, they were flowing freely now.  He is strong.  I needed to know that so desperately.  “Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  The Bible tells me so.” Was this comfort I was beginning to feel?

Again, my mind was processing furiously.  Jesus.  I needed to hear that name again.  “What a wonderful name is Jesus.  What a wonderful name to me.  Whispered to the Virgin Mary.  Heralded by choirs of angels. Name of him who came to save his people from their sin.  What a beautiful name, what a wonderful name, what a wonderful, beautiful name is Jesus.”  I hadn’t heard that song in years but it found its way to the front of my consciousness and then flowed through my lips.  Like a dam in a stream giving way, these precious melodies I had known so long began to flood my mind.  “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.  There’s just something about that name.  Master, Saviour, Jesus.  Like the fragrance after the rain.  Jesus, Jesus, oh Jesus. Let all heaven and earth proclaim.  Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there’s something about that name.”  My breath was stronger now.  My lungs were filling, and I could breathe in strength as I exhaled praise.  “That wonderful name, that beautiful name, from hell has power to free us.  That wonderful name, that beautiful name, that matchless name is Jesus.”  Song after song came to mind.  I felt comforted. I felt strengthened.  I think I was almost having fun.  I’m sure if someone had a nanny cam in my living room, the whole proceeding would have looked ridiculous, but I could not have cared less.  For me, this was precious.  As I sang the words of these little Sunday School choruses, my focus changed.  My situation didn’t change in the least, but I was looking at something else.  I was able to look at something else.  And that something else was big enough and beautiful enough to eclipse my pain in that moment.

Don’t worry, if you are thinking, “You sang Jesus loves me and now you never get discouraged.  How nice for you.”  

Ya, it’s not like that. I have had other hard days.  Lots of them.  That was some twenty –plus years ago now, and life has kicked me many times since then.  I mean, seriously, I have teenagers.  Enough said?  And sometimes, if I’m honest, I have to admit that I still allow myself to be overwhelmed.  But I discovered that day that I don’t have to.  It’s not going to pay my bills, or cure a loved-ones anxiety, or guarantee the success of a floundering ministry to which I have been called, but it will give me strength to deal with all of those things.  

See, what I discovered on my living room floor that night is that I have a weapon against hopelessness, and when I use it, it is unstoppable.  It is praise. 

4 thoughts on “Worship is strength, and how to get up when you’ve been kicked hard.

  1. Edith Tuomisto says:

    Yes, I’ve been there. I think I started singing in the middle of the song.
    You give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, blessed be thy name.
    He is with us, and is my strength .

    Thanks for sharing Hope 😊

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