As Leah and I sit here in one of Riley’s Family Rooms waiting once again while Beckett undergoes yet another operation, I am reminded of a song, recently brought back to my attention by a friend of ours, titled “Hallelujah”, by Leonard Cohen. It was made famous by many, but particularly to the younger generation through Rufus Wainwright. One of my favorite renditions of it is from an artist I’ve liked for a very long time. His name is Phil Wickham. I’ll provide the link at the bottom of this post and strongly recommend listening to it if/when you get the chance. It’s very genuine and raw, and appears as if it was simply recorded with 1 take in a random hotel room…I love it!
I’ve actually always wrestled with the phrase “cold & broken Hallelujah” in that song. It forces me to wrestle with what it can even look like to sing a “cold & broken Hallelujah”. Now, I’ll clarify that this song is not “gospel truth”, but it is art, and if you allow it, it can make you wrestle with deeper issues like the one I want to present in this post.
As many of you know, I believe in a God. I believe in one God…“the” God. And even those few sentences are a huge turnoff to many of you following Beckett’s journey. But I must plead for those of you who disagree with my beliefs to please hang in there with me and to not take your encouragement and support away from Beckett because of this disagreement. I truly believe Beckett still needs and wants all of our support! I am not so dogmatic to belittle anyone who believes different than I, but I cannot bend in my values and beliefs. With that being said, I believe in the Bible, and I am not deceived to trust in its infallible nature. I do wrestle, however, with scriptures like 2 Corinthians 7:4 “In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy” or Romans 5:3 “we rejoice in our sufferings” or James 1:2 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds”. What do we do with passages like this? Are we to just smack a smile on our face as we are beaten, broken and run down? I don’t think so. But I do think we can sing “praise” and “hallelujahs” with a troubled spirit knowing that our “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”. Nowhere in scripture does it say that we can get what we want with enough prayer. I think the key phrase to pull out of that last sentence is “get what we want”. What a selfish phrase that is. People like to use the passage Romans 8:28 “that for those who love God all things work together for good…” But what does “good” mean? What we desire? I don’t believe we aren’t suppose to ask for the desires of our hearts, but I do believe we are to follow it with “but Your will be done” as a sign of our trust in His sovereignty and complete control. Romans 8:28 ends with “for those who are called according to his purpose”. I think that is where we are given a glimpse of the definition of “good”…”according to his purpose”. I am constantly reminded of Job’s story where he lost nearly everything…his wealth, ALL his children, his health…yet he gave God the glory. How is that possible? Job 1:21 says “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Take note, he says, “The LORD GAVE, and the LORD has TAKEN AWAY”, not Satan, or evil…God did. I think back often to December, before Beckett officially joined us in this world. I believe that if God would have given us the option to choose a smooth journey as opposed to this challenging one we are currently right in the middle of (even knowing all the good that has truly come from this situation and will continue to come from it) we would still choose the smooth journey. Right? I’m weak. I’m closed minded. And I’m selfish. Even if God is doing greater things through this struggle, my heart bends towards what is easy. I believe this is where “the rubber meets the road”, especially in my prayer life. I beg God daily to preserve Beckett’s life, but I believe my ultimate priority is to know God fully. A close second (a very close second) is Beckett and my family, but again, my priority is to know God and worship him fully. I think we can, in a genuine spirit, cry out “hallelujah”, even in the midst of confusion and heart ache begging God to help us embody a healthy perspective and understanding of his control and purpose through our calamities.
Since this post has taken me so long to type, we’ve actually already now received news that Beckett did GREAT, no glitches, with his cardiac cath!!!! That is awesome!!! We are so thrilled, and now continue to just take another step forward in this journey. Truly One.Day.At.A.Time.
Phil Wickham – Hallelujah