Sunday morning, I was in a worship service joyfully singing about an incredible God who “placed the stars in the sky and knows them by name” but by Wednesday afternoon, I realized that I didn’t really know sh*t about what I was singing about Sunday. Continue reading
Everybody has had a time where they feel as if God isn’t there, or that He isn’t real. A time where our prayers seem to dissipate before they can reach the roof, or where He just doesn’t seem to be paying us any attention, or where it feels like our world is falling apart and He is nowhere to be found. Everyone feels that at some point, right? Why haven’t I then?
I’ve been reading a book on prayer by Richard Foster and though he’s a brilliant and intimate author, he always makes me feel as if I’m… I don’t know… weird. Or more precisely like I’m missing something. This time, it’s in a subject he calls the “prayer of the forsaken” where the Christian feels abandoned by God.
As he steered us through the chapter, I feel as if each assumption he makes proves untrue for me. I’ve never felt abandoned even during the most difficult stretches of my life. But then again, I don’t often get the sense that God is even there. I don’t feel like He receives my prayers, I know He does, but I honestly wouldn’t feel the difference if He didn’t or did. I do sometimes wonder if prayer is simply self- manipulation though, and I wonder if I am simply deceiving myself into believing that the order of the universe and the chain of events I’ve witnessed throughout my lifetime is somehow an unmistakable mark of divinity. Maybe that’s what he was talking about. Maybe not.
What’s my point in all of this?
I don’t know.
No really, I don’t know and I just have to be okay with that.
How we know exactly what we want until we get it
We are so sure of ourselves
Until we turn around and see we are not who we thought
Our track records are not what they ought to be
Who are we to say what we’re not if the evidence contradicts it?
Who do we become when we see it?
When despair is a legitimate option, do we find ourselves there?
Do we give in to our reflections or reject them?
What will I do?
Who am I to deny my own track record?
Is my reflection realer than grace?
Am I what I look like if it ain’t what God says?
Should I trust my sight or faith?
That’s why they told me to walk by it…
I see now.
I can’t be trusted.
I’ll try to embrace your words though I don’t always feel that way.
You are more real than my perception.
I believe that.
I’m done making exceptions.
Help me believe that.
There’s lots of vulgar language over this 12 minutes of music, but between Kendrick’s bitter, desperate, vengeful, and dismal, yet undeniably compelling stories of young people grappling with life and death, searching for significance and coping with pain; and his own admission that we are all depraved [dying of thirst], we have one of the most potent and meaningful pieces of hip hop music released in quite some time. Throw in an enigmatic and resolute old lady in the last couple minutes of the track leading some would-be murderers through a prayer of salvation and things get a lot more interesting. This track needs not only to be experienced, but firmly understood and applied to our own lives. Continue reading
I have made myself a fornicator:
Called my body my own
And did with it as I wished;
I have been forgetful.
I forgot the Master that crafted it
I forgot the price paid
I am not cheap.
I’ve forgotten these things.
He commands that my body be a living sacrifice
Kenshin is to devote or give life
I’m shamed by my own name…
Tenrai reminds me that God writes,
I’m a King.
Though my slave chains have been broken for years
I’m sometimes still trying to find them
I like them.
I like to pretend they were made for me
That these hands and feet can’t change their fate
That it’s okay to fall in the same traps different ways
It’s progress, right?
Like walking backwards is moving forward
Who are we fooling?
Each of us is playing the same game
We flirt with flames
Afraid to walk away,
To pay for the better way.
We lust for easy.
It’s me too.
You are brave.
Courageous, strong, smart, and well on your way to success
Fix your eyes on your treasure,
Don’t look right or left
Chase that greatness.
It seems small
But God is making
No matter how much things seem a mess,
This’ll be for the best,
You are blessed to be injured in the name of righteousness
Embrace the pain.
Let it train your mind to find the way that’s true
Let eagle’s wings sprout from your spine;
It’s time you learn to fly
Let your hammering heartbeat
Let each deep breath be a fanfare,
Your feet stepping forward at the tempo of sixteenth notes.
May your body morph into symphonies of purity and justice
May the strength of holiness crown your head
And may each temptation that stands to face you be naught but grains of sand before your windstorms.
May we be grains of sand before your windstorms.
Live your life with the might to blow us away.
And when that dust fades, nothing will be the same.
Everything is becoming new.
What a terrifying, yet beautiful and necessary thing it is to have an older man look you in the face
expose your weakness
and nurture you to life.
If enough people say you’re wise, you really begin to believe it,
Forget that you’re only 20-something and still learning,
That you don’t have to be so serious,
That there’s no need pretending you’re holding everything together,
Or that anyone does.
“Man, please. His life is a train wreck just like yours.”
That losing things is okay, and that anything we give up will be restored ten-fold.
It takes a man who lived through a divorce,
stage 4 cancer,
and losing a 6 figure salary saying
“I lost everything and it was the best time of my life.”
To make you understand that you can live past this moment.
The only thing between you and growth is knowing this:
There is beauty waiting to be born from your brokenness.
If you don’t eventually lose your
They will eventually lose you.
There’s only one thing we should completely put our hope in:
“I lost everything and it was the best time of my life. I was finally open to hearing God.”
I’ve got all I need.
I’ve just gotta keep listening.
You speak and galaxies come into being, storms cease, and demons flee screaming
We’ve read stories of You destroying entire armies and stopping the teeth of lions
Stretched out the sky like a blank canvas and painted sunrises and sets
Reflecting the ocean waves that demonstrate a full range of the emotions you’ve shown us,
from raging storms to perfect peace
We are shot glasses before you taking scoop after scoop of sea trying to capture the entire thing like wouldn’t take an eternity
We are so silly!
But you let us keep trying, I can see you laughing like my father used to when I was 5, wrapped around his leg hoping to bring him to the ground.
You found me,
Petty and foolish
And declared me royalty.