Bless the Lord oh My Soul…even in suffering…

For those who attend a church regularly you have no doubt heard the song “10,000 reasons -Bless The Lord Oh my soul” a time or two.This song has always moved me to my core but this weekend was different…one of my good friends Ismael led the song and to hear him sing these words pierced my heart deeply.

Ismael and his wife Margarita suffered a terrible loss just over a year ago…their precious daughter Sophia – age 2 – passed away. To see the two of them sing the words “Sing like never before, Oh my soul, I worship your Holy name.”

Like never before….in suffering…in great loss…grief…unbearable sadness…in the unfair sting of a fallen world where loss has touched them personally they still sing “like never before…my soul will worship your Holy name”.

From the depths of their being – in and through heartbreak they can still stand even though their heart has been torn and worship Gods holy, worthy, good name.

This is true worship. This is the heart of worship.

Not just on Sunday.

Not just when life is good.

Not when our prayers are answered.

Not just when we are comfortable.

Not with bells and whistles.

Not with cool music.

When no one else is looking… In the place where sorrow holds our hand, God still holds our heart and we can worship from a deep place like never before.

In the place of suffering the worshiper reaches a place where the intersection of sadness meets rest….it’s the place where even though the believer feels unimaginable grief he or she can still say “it is well with my soul”.

We all have these places in our lives where expectation has fallen short…where life has handed us a bowl full of suffering …heavy burdens – in poverty, broken marriage, betrayal, an unexpected diagnosis, another fallen being has harmed your soul, a longing unfulfilled….the loss of a loved one…the loss of a child…when these things touch our lives God shows himself as comforter, peace giver, sustainer, Abbah. He is aquainted with our suffering.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

He knows our groaning. Jesus The man of sorrows knew suffering beyond what any human has ever known – for the weight of the world He took upon himself that we would be set free eternally…to taste suffering takes us to a deeper knowing of Him who has the keys to unlock death. It is our hope against hope…hope that our good God in a fallen world stained with sin and brokenness reached down and reaches into the depth of our soul and gives us hope and peace and rest even in the face of loss…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This is the hope that Ishmael and Margarita have as they are held in the arms of the Father here on earth while they long to one day hold Sophia once again….And there they will again sing like never before in the place where

“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” Revelation 21:4

If you too are suffering today…in this moment know God knows and sees your suffering…He knows your longing…your ache…He is still a good God even when the world around us is not. This world is not our home…take heart…

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14