While hanging out with a friend last week, music played quietly in the background. Suddenly, the fun, lively music was replaced with a sweet melody of worship (“Simplicity” by Rend Collective). Oh random shuffle and all its delights.
The specific song that softly began to play quickly transported me back to a season I would not care to revisit. Each word sung revived forgotten moments of tearful worship and honest words with God.
Painful seasons do not come in a one-size-fits-all format. Even still, songs can mark these moments in our lives like altars of remembrance. They can act as anchors during the troubled times.
A DIFFICULT PRAYER
As the song continued to play, another memory revived itself. A few years ago, one line in particular had been annoying to me.
“Lord, strip it all away ’til only You remain.”
These words were too real, too raw to pray at one point in my life. I was not amused or enthused that these words were coming to life without my permission. I’d often skip that line and sing all the rest while thinking, “You’ve stripped enough, Lord. People who sing that line don’t know what they are asking!”
We pray difficult prayers in easy seasons without realizing the magnitude of the words we pray. “Take me deeper where my trust is without borders” (“Oceans” by Hillsong United). Are you sure that is your prayer? Deeper trust and greater endurance are most often the fruit of intense pain and serious pruning.
A GRATEFUL HEART
Yet, last week, something remarkable happened when I heard this memory-filled song. While the melody sent me back to days gone by, it also became a new altar of remembrance. I am no longer stuck in that painful season. What a relief to acknowledge that even though circumstances haven’t changed, I HAVE CHANGED! God pruned and there is new life, new growth coming forth.
We are often ignorant of how far we’ve come until something triggers a memory of what once was. Since that sacred musical moment last week, I’ve been singing that song with joy and thanksgiving. “Suffering is never for nothing” as Elisabeth Elliot says. I can see it today and I hope you can see it in your own life as well. God is at work and we are not what we once were. Hallelujah.
When you have a free moment, why not select an old playlist or album and take a trip down memory lane. It might surprise you what you’ll discover.