Michael Card is no ordinary musician. He is one of that rare breed that is able to write songs that please the ear and feed the soul, his lyrics are as brilliant as the melodies that carry them. Michael is going to be performing at Fellowship on Friday night as the featured performer at the annual banquet for Mission to Missionaries. He will return to Jackson in November to be the guest speaker at our annual Bible Conference. Too much of a good thing is wonderful.
A couple of months back, I was given a book that was authored by Michael. “A Sacred Sorrow” reminds us of the importance of lament in the Christian experience. Throughout the Scriptures, men and women have poured out their sorrow to God with raw, honest emotion, and in every circumstance their tears moved God. Such honest worship is less common in the contemporary, American church—I know it’s uncommon in my life! I am inclined to be stoic in my suffering, as though my fears and grief’s threaten my faith and insult my God. I choose to be ok, even when I am not.
Michael reflects on this tendency and invites us to drop the charade:
“…we grew up trying to control our tears and trying to help others control theirs, thinking in the midst of it all sometimes that we might even be able to control the pain. All our ulcers and neuroses unfold as an inescapable consequence. That single pathway through it all, the path of lament, became overgrown, lost, left off all our maps.
The bottom line: We are all born into a world we were not really made to inhabit. We were created for God, made to flourish in the comfort of the Presence of our Father within the warm context of His undeniable hesed. Now, in the fallen world, we are cut off from them both. Only the loving sovereignty of all-wise God could redeem such a hopeless situation. His solution? To use suffering to save us. To redeem our own suffering and most significantly to redeem all mankind, through His own suffering on the cross to pay the price for our sin. In order to turn around and move once more in the direction of God, we must find this path He has carved out. We must call out to Him in the language He has provided. We must regain the tearful trail. We must relearn lament.”
I am not always ok. I have seasons when the circumstances of life suffocate my happiness. And then there are those inexplicable times, when my soul is heavy without any good reason. I grieve, I hurt, and I am not ok. In times like these I must “cry out” and “pour out my heart like water before the Lord” (Lamentations 2:19a). You must too. We need to learn to be ok with not being ok.