I saw a tweet the other day from Donald Miller. You can see it on the picture on the right side of this post. Simple tweet, right? But Miller’s tweet sent me on a trip down memory lane, and then to a point of brokenness as I reflected on some incredible lyrics.
Jars of Clay’s self titled album was my first CD. I was 10. I still have that CD, and it still plays. “Faith like a Child” got me through some tough months in Middle School. I have a ten year old t-shirt from the Acoustic Tour the band took in 2003. I still wear the shirt, and I still think it looks pretty good. I’m also proud that it still fits after all these years, haha.
“Worlds Apart” from their self titled album is my favorite song. Ever. “Oh My God” from the album “Good Monsters” is a close second. Both songs never fail to bring me to tears and to a point of brokenness, for two different but very related reasons. Worlds Apart reminds me of my brokenness. With lyrics like “It takes all I have to believe, in the mercy that covers me.” A heartfelt plea asking “Did you really have to die for me?” usually starts the flow of tears. The songwriter seems to reach inside my heart, inside my doubts, inside my mind, and create a song reflecting my soul. Sometimes what I need to do, what I want to do, and what I should do seem to be worlds apart. I could go on describing the song, but I’ll let it speak for itself.
Later down the line in my spiritual life, I heard the song “Oh My God.” This song also brings me to tears. The writer pleads with God, describing scenes of injustice and cries for mercy. “If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep” sounds like something that could come from my lips. My twenties have been devoted to justice, so the scenes described in “Oh my God” stir my soul and bring the tears.
Lately my worlds do seem to be apart. I experience powerful moments of closeness and worship. I hear the soft whisper in my soul of the promises yet to come. The peace that can only be explained in a powerful experience of the creator. But then later, there’s doubt. There’s this jumbled up feeling inside. How quickly I doubt the promises given.
People around me are hurting. Things are being revealed that fly in the face of the comfortable reality I’ve always lived in. Simple ‘truths’ I’ve always clung to aren’t so simple anymore. The more engrossed I get in the justice movement, the more I find myself saying “Oh my God, why? Why?”. And I ask “why” not wanting the cushy ‘explain it away’ church answer I’ve been happy with my entire life. I find myself comfortable in the silence. I can ask why and be okay with the quiet peace in my soul, the unanswered questions. How is that possible? I don’t know. But I do know that I can’t be quiet about the injustice I see. I can’t be quiet with my questions. I have to speak them, I have to own them. That’s the only way justice will come. That’s the only way things will change.
When I look at the themes of these songs, I’m ultimately reminded of my brokenness and my relationship with God. He is so patient with my impatience and my doubt. When my worlds are far apart, he silently puts them back together again. He silently comforts me in my dark hours. He hears my cries for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed. He hears their cries. He is among us as we search for justice and as we plead for an end to the madness. When I cry out “Oh my God, what is going on?!” He is listening. He knows, he hears.
He knows all of us, and he knows you.