I bought this album before I’d ever heard a note because I believe in Compassion International and from everything I’ve read or seen about him, Shaun Groves is a powerfully effective part of their ministry. Supporting him is another way I can support them. But now that I’ve heard Third World Symphony, I’m doubly glad I bought it.
I’ve had the CD playing in the background of my day for almost a week now. I find myself humming pieces of songs as I’m walking through the grocery store or while I’m brushing my teeth in the morning. But a few days ago I had a chance to be still and really listen to the words of the songs. Some of the lyrics felt like poetry:
Cathedral arches of reaching limbs
Crickets sing secret hymn over all of us
Fireflies tickle across our palms
Lit up like diamonds drawn from the black above
(from “Awake My Soul”)
As I listened, I heard words that sounded like my own heart’s cries.
Mercy come, justice come
Healing come, peace, Lord, come
Your will be done through us on earth
(from “Kingdom Coming”)
Even the cries that I try to ignore because they remind me of places I don’t want to be.
What in my heart ain’t twisted?
I’ve kissed for less than thirty pieces
Oh, God, can heaven even reach me – so far
(from “Down Here”)
Can I level with you for a minute?
I knew my life would be different now that my dad lives in Heaven and not here. My broken heart made sense to me and I had accepted that time would never completely heal the wound his absence has created. I allowed myself some time and space to ask God tough questions and to be disappointed with His answers to my prayers for my dad’s healing here on earth. I still believe “unshakeable faith is faith that has been shaken.” I just thought my faith would have stopped shaking by now.
In some ways, I feel like what I’ve lived through has helped me appreciate this life more. I am much more likely to be in the moment and appreciate the time I have to spend with family and friends.
Hush away the hurry
Put to rest the worry
Come to quell and quiet me
In this moment given
Slow and fully live it
Drink up all the passing peace
Awake my soul to live this moment
Awake my soul, give thanks and hold it
(From “Awake My Soul”)
Laughter comes easily again and I truly appreciate the blessings of my life.
But I’m still a broken girl.
All these months I’ve been waiting for all the pieces to be put back together. I’ve waited for everything to make sense. It seems like the pain I’ve experienced has made me more vulnerable to feel others’ pain as well. I feel like I’m always walking around with my heart on my sleeve. I’ve put distance between myself and God because I haven’t been able to figure out why he won’t make life more cut and dry the way it used to seem to be. I’ve felt vulnerable and exposed. I thought my brokenness made me weak.
But as I was listening to the songs, I heard God say, “In your brokenness, I am strong.”
Come, we have nothing else God
And having You we want for nothing
(From “Come By Here”)
I feel ashamed of my questions and doubts. I wonder if God can still use me when trust comes harder than it used to. But in the still of the moment, through the words of a song, He reminded me that no matter how much distance I try to wedge between myself and Him, I can never get away from His love.
No death, life
Angels or demons
No depth, height
Can come in between us
And Your love, Your love, Your love, love
(From “Come By Here”)
Tucked between the verses of a hymn that feels like home, I heard words that felt like an altar call.
O I come to the Son, who can heal with His wounds
O I come to the Thief, who has robbed every tomb
O I come to the Victor, my Life and my Love
O Lamb of God, I come
(From “Just As I Am”)
For me, listening to all the words of this album felt a little like coming home for a little while. It felt like the first real prayer I’d prayed in a really long time. Oh, I’ve been saying words to God, but we haven’t had a real conversation in a very long time. It wasn’t like an epiphany or a lightning strike of revelation from Heaven. It was more like an invitation to come over for dinner from a friend I haven’t seen in really long time. More like the eager anticipation of things to come.
I’m giving away two copies of Third World Symphony. I’ll randomly choose two winners from the commenters on yesterday’s and today’s posts. Feel free to comment on both posts to increase your already good chances of winning. Once again, I’ll give you a choice of questions to answer. 1. What’s your favorite hymn? 2. Do you have a special song that God has used to speak to your heart? 3. Do you pay more attention to the music or the lyrics in a song?