Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The "Blessings" song

This song has been near and dear to my heart ever since Laura Story recorded it in 2011.  After one year of marriage, Story's husband was hospitalized with a brain tumor.

Laura wrote, "There was a time he was on a breathing machine and we weren't sure he was going to make it. I spent my whole life singing, ''Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,' but until Jesus took me through something where my only option was to trust Him, I didn't really know that sweetness," reflects Story. While supporting her husband through surgery, radiation, complications, and intense physical therapy, Story has composed new songs with meaty, real substance that have ministered to her as much as they will minister to her listeners.

"It's hard to understand why God would allow us to go through this, but I know He works all things together for good, and I feel my new album is reflecting that. Though He leads us through valleys, that's when we get to trust Him and draw closer to Him all the more. Though I've doubted, His grasp has never released, never slipped. He's remained completely faithful to me. He has proven that He really is my foundation and my hope."


"We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

     When I first heard "Blessings", I was also watching my beautiful little boy get weaker and weaker and there was nothing I could do to stop it.   What a beautiful song capturing the deep and true treasure of life.  It will not be perfect.  It will be hard. We will have trials.  But can God work through the hard?  yes.  I have to trust and believe He will because what hope do I have if He didn't promise us this?  He always answers prayer, but He doesn't always answer what we want. 
        We pray constantly for blessings...for our country, for our food, health and happiness.  So what about when we don't have happiness, health or "blessings" that we see?   In her devotional, Laura Story wrote, "If I experience hardship or heartbreak, am I being punished?  If my husband has poor health, is that a curse from God?  Some may think so.  When my  (Laura's) husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, well meaning strangers asked him if he had un-confessed sin in his life, for surely God would not curse him for no reason.  But the more my husband and I looked to God's Word, the more we came to realize that sometimes God actually blesses Him children through the absence of the very things they pray for.
       Paul asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh; instead, God chose to teach Paul about a power that is only made perfect in weakness.  Job deeply mourned the loss of his possessions and his health, yet he learned to worship God in the midst of his nakedness.
     So how do I define blessings now?  I'm still not sure.  Every 'what if' in the song 'blessings' symbolizes a thousand questions God seems to have left unanswered.  But this I do know: There is a deep sense of intimacy with God that can only be known through suffering.  There is a reliance on Him that can only be experienced when everything else around my soul seems to give way.  And if that's what it takes to make this stubborn child cling to that old rugged cross, you can have your prosperity.  I'd rather have Jesus."
       For me, some people may say that we didn't trust God enough to heal Samuel, but we trusted God. We also trusted in His sovereignty and know that His plans are not going to change because of my faith. "God has given us suffering to make us seek Him, to trust in Him and to use our experiences to reach others for Him."  Nancy Guthrie, my mentor wrote in her book Holding on to Hope, "Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” This is startling if we take in the scope of what he is saying. And it completely refutes the health-and-wealth gospel that has found its way into the way even orthodox believers respond to and pray about painful problems. Jesus is saying here that he wants to display his power in Paul’s life not by removing the thorn but by sustaining and satisfying Paul as he lives with the thorn. He is promising to be enough for Paul even as he agonizes over the pain of the thorn. We need to hear this, because the reality is that most of us don’t get the miracle we pray for either; we too have to live with the thorn.  Instead of urging them to pray away their suffering, I want to encourage them to look for God in the midst of it. If God has allowed suffering into your life, it is for a significant purpose. So rather than just focusing on getting rid of it, seek to discover God’s purpose in your pain, to submit to his plan and his purpose, to please him in how you respond to adversity. You have an incredible opportunity to glorify God just by your simple trust in him during these dark days. He will bring you from the darkness into the light, so look for him in the darkness."
    When my sweet Samuel was suffering and our family was seeking the Lord to take his pain away, all we could do was to trust and lean on His grace.  We also knew that Samuel was created perfectly and the Lord was using him in many ways that we may never know.  Nancy lost 2 precious children, so she knows what this means.
    Now that you know how I feel about Blessings and God's sovereignty I'll share about singing it.  I have wanted to sing this song "Blessings" for a long time, but never attempted it since it is so difficult.  My friend Sarah called me last week and said it would be the perfect song to go with the Sermon.  I told her I really wanted to, but didn't know if I could get through it.  I would try.  Sunday came and it was a difficult morning.  I love to sing, but this may be too much.  I even wept before the song as we sang "In Christ Alone".  When the song started I pressed on and made it until the part where I sang,
 "What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy"

I lost it.  I ache for my little boy.  It was so difficult.
And then I heard the congregation start to sing softly with us.  They were trying to help me through.
 My church loved Samuel.  They knew him well and prayed for him. What a sweet moment to share and be lifted up.  After we finished the song we walked out and all fell apart. I couldn't even look at my family and friends because they were all crying too.  Here is a recording of Sunday. It's not the best, but it's from my heart. <3 I wanted it to remember, for myself, Tim and for my children the grace that the Lord has poured on us.

"We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home."

I know that Samuel is healed and happy. Heaven is our goal and he has reached it.  I must rest in this.  Here is an unexpected blessing sent to us last week.  A stranger found us on facebook and sent us this message:

"Hi u don't know me but your child changed my life and I thought u should know.  I work at the cemetery before last year I had 2 jobs never at home rarely seen my boys.  The day of the funeral I sat in the truck and cried with ya'll seeing the love and heartache.  I realized I spent too much time away from them. Following Monday I quit my other job and somehow we still have money for bills n fun.  I sometimes stop and thank him and blessed to know him even though I've never meet him. It's was a honor to be able to be the one to set his stone and I thank ya'll . God bless ya'll"

Thank you Lord for showing us the "Blessing" of Samuel's life, even today. I know the Lord will continue to use him for His glory!


Alisa Lamb said...

"Heaven is our goal and he has reached it." I love that. This not our home. He persevered. He stood the test. He has the crown of life.

Anonymous said...

I love this song, too. It is achingly true. Our daughter has mito also.

Melly said...

As I sit here sobbing and listening to my sweet sister singing blessings, my heart is heavy. I am so glad the Lord used/uses Samuel so mightily in our lives of showing us how the Lord blesses His children with joys and sorrows. I love you,