Oh, tell me what you know
about God and the world and the human soul
how so much can go wrong
and still there are songs . . .
–Sara Groves, “In the Girl There’s a Room”
When I started my car yesterday afternoon, the words of this song began to play and I began to cry. A woman I have known since fifth grade died on Sunday. We were the same age, past the youth of our twenties and yet not quite middle-aged, beyond adolescence and the prime childbearing years but not quite having hot flashes. Now she’ll never experience that.
So much goes wrong in this world: grief, suffering and tragedy abound in every life. People get cancer. Raped. Divorced. Cheated and swindled. Robbed. Die. Every soul, at some point in life, experiences a gut-wrenching pain. True, some people have more than their “fair” share but we all know pain.
Yet there are songs. . . .
C.S. Lewis wrote stories about an imaginary world of children and talking animals and magic and a lion who is not safe but always good. I read of the God who is both loving and fierce, good but not always safe, trustworthy and kicking me out of my comfortable middle class life.
Sara Groves writes a song that makes me think or cry or wonder. I hear a faint echo of the voice of the God who spoke creation into existence.
My friend Brooke shares her poems about her work with the homeless and her heartbreak at running out of food at the soup kitchen. I think of the God who feeds me, spiritually and physically, and desires me to extend that same compassion to others.
International Justice Mission fights slavery and sex trafficking across the globe, working to change laws and literally kicking down the doors of brothels to snatch children from those who use them for their perverse gratification. I am reminded of the God who is perfectly just, who is angered at injustice and will one day provide justice for all the victims of this atrocity. I am spurred to action.
These are songs. These acts of beauty by fallible, fickle humans are a taste of heaven brought down to earth. They point to God, who never changes.
Oh tell me what you know
about God and the world and the human soul . . .
During his sermon past Sunday, Dr. Bryan Chapell told a story of a woman at his church. She was battling cancer and the doctors had to switch her to different drugs. Lying in the hospital bed, she gazed at the list of new medications. So much change. Then she shouted, “My God does not change. I will not be moved, though the mountains fall into the sea, my God does not change.” Her faith pointed to God, a song of beauty amidst all that had gone wrong in her world.
As I took sermon notes, my eyes filled with tears. That was the attitude my friend had as she was dying. I’ll share part of her last blog post, written on November 13th:
In October we were given the news that there was nothing medically that they could do and that the cancer had actually spread to my lungs and there are more spots on the liver. When we first got the news it was very shocking, but we prayed to our Father in Heaven that He would give us peace and comfort at this time. . . . Later that evening Aaron and I were in the hospital room talking and we both agreed with amazement that we had been given the peace and comfort we needed and asked the Lord for.
How so much can go wrong . . .
Yet she and her husband had peace and comfort even as they looked into hospice care. She wrote with a positive, joyful, assured attitude that pointed to the God she loves so much, the God who has wiped away her tears and given her a new body and a voice to praise him forever.
And still there are songs . . .
Shawna’s blog: http://shawna-blessedbeyond.blogspot.com/
Full lyrics of Sara’s song: http://www.saragroves.com/lyrics/tellmewhatyouknow/inthegirltheresaroom/
To listen to Bryan Chapell’s sermon: www.southwood.org