A Song of Faith

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A friend sent me a link to this song today. She told me she was praying for me while listening to it the other day.

What I love about the song is how it is sung. It’s not a feel-good, everything is okay song. It’s raw and honest and sung in a way that conveys pain and sorrow. It’s the song for the one who is still in pain… who still knows sorrow. There are plenty of songs that say it differently… with more of a past tense frame of view. If this had been written in such a way, it would look like this…
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When I walked through deep waters, I know that you were there with me
When I stood in fire, I was not overcome
Through the valley of the shadow, I did not fear

I was not alone, I was not alone
You went before me, you never left me
I was not alone, I was not alone
You went before me, you never left me

In the midst of deep sorrow, I saw your light break through
The dark of night did not overtake me
I pressed into you

Lord, you fought my every battle
And I did not fear

I was not alone, I was not alone
You went before me, you never left me
I was not alone, I was not alone
You went before me, you never left me

You amazed me, redeemed me, called me as your own

You were my strength, you were my defender
You were my refuge in the storm

Through those trials you always were faithful
You brought healing to my soul

I was not alone, I was not alone
You went before me, you never left me
I was not alone, I was not alone
You went before me, you never left me
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How different a song it would be if it had been written that way. I can just hear it sung… I imagine it would be much more upbeat, with a powerful tone rather than a mournful or painful tone. It would be, like many songs are, a song of victory and gratitude. Songs of victory and gratitude are good, and definitely should be sung. I think of those as songs of praise… like many of David’s psalms. But written and sung the way it was, it’s a song of faith… of lament, even, also like many of the psalms. But more than lament, it’s a verbal act of faith. Speaking {or singing} words that are believed, not felt. And that is what I love most about it. Walking in faith, singing a song that claims truths about God, even when a sense of those truths is hard to find… that’s what I feel when I hear this song, and it cuts to the deepest parts of me, because that is where I am.

I appreciate that my friend sent it in many ways. One, because it told me that she recognizes where I am. Others recognizing, pursuing and asking about where I am post baby loss is not something that floods my life. Quite the opposite. And even when I do express where I am at, whether asked or not, it’s not something that is often readily received. More often than not, it’s something that is avoided or brushed off… perhaps because it’s too uncomfortable? I honestly don’t know. But I do know that it compounds the already isolating nature of the loss of a baby… yes, even this far out, maybe more so now than a year ago. It’s not a natural or easy thing to take note of or ask about, I recognize. So it’s that much more appreciated.

Secondly, because she’s okay with where I am and wants to know where I am. She’s happy to meet me where I am, which is why, I guess, she would encourage me with a song like this today. I also appreciate that she knows how much music is a gift to me, and often like a balm for my pain. I suspect that she sees music similarly. We met in the church choir, after all.

What I appreciate about being sent this song more than anything, though, is that my friend who sent it {and has counseled me regularly over the past two years} is one who has always reminded me to walk by faith, daily… through this whole ordeal, from the time I found out the life forming inside me was not likely going to make it until now. She’s been real about the struggle, never hinting that it should be covered over or hidden… only that I should press on, or like the song says, into God, in faith. Even when nothing seems redemptive about what we have gone through, even when it seems we are utterly alone, even when it seems the weakness will win, she encourages me to say who God is {recite it if I have to} even especially when I can’t sense who God is. She encourages me to proclaim in faith what I do not feel. That is this song at its core. I hear the pain in the way it is sung. I sense the isolation and sorrow. Yet she sings through it. She says the words anyway. Notice, it’s always present and future tense, not past and present. I am not alone. She sings so in faith, because clearly what she feels is alone. You will go before me, you will never leave me. Faith. Believing God will be true to His word.

I reluctantly write out thoughts like these. I fear that it would be looked at as Well, this might have seemed appropriate for the struggle a year ago. But a struggle now? Worse than the idea or possibility of someone else thinking those thoughts is hearing my own critical voice expressing them.

Here’s the thing, though. I have learned that there is no timeline for all this. There is no Here’s what you can expect first, and after that, it will be like this… or should be like this. There is no roadmap. No markers for progress. In fact, it’s a lot like the game of Chutes and Ladders. All you have to do is land on one bad space, and you can be right back where you started. Thank God He’s completely okay with that. It’s not a shock to Him at all. If He could do His best work there before, He can certainly do it again.

Approaching a situation in the near future that I know will be very hard, I find myself right back where I was a year ago. And it’s a weary me that goes into it… not a put-all-the-way-back-together me. It’s one who’s seeing a new phase of isolation, feeling prone to give up on fighting it… prone to give up on coming up gracious in every situation because I just don’t have energy for that anymore. That’s where I’m at. I don’t have it in me right now. Strength for that would have to come from God… thus the appreciation for a song like this. It will. He’s working where I can not see.

Like my friend, God too recognizes where I am. I just read this quote today… “God does not stand aloof to the pains of our existence.” It’s not at all uncomfortable for him. And whether or not I or others grant me permission, God allows me to be here, hoping I will take an honest look at where I am, but then look to Him. I know he wants us to cry out to Him here. In our weakness He is strong.

Do I wish I was writing about where I am the way the rewritten lyrics above comes across? Yes. Would it be honest if I did. Not in the slightest.

It’s refreshing to see writers and artists who are courageously honest in their message. They, in faith, let their pain be seen, partly with intent to give others something to identify with. I do identify. I’m grateful David did this as well. It serves as a green light for me to do the same.

As I squeak out words in faith for the present, I hope for the day when they’ll be sung past tense… healed. It might not be until I stand before God face-to-face, I realize. But that does not change who He is. It merely changes the timeline.

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