Sometimes life just sucks.
I’ve recently been talking with some people who have been going through difficult periods in their lives, and this has given me a chance to reflect on life’s occasional uncertainty. In dark times, I’ve always been grateful that I can find a measure of certainty and peace in my faith, even if it takes a while to settle down and listen for what God’s trying to say. Music and poetry has often helped me through these tough parts of my life.
Now, not all music is useful, and as an example, we can consider 90’s church music. Whilst the 80’s were a time of fantastic change in Christian music, with the epic yellow and black of Stryper, Psalty the Singing Songbook (yes, that was a thing), and of course, the legend himself, Keith Green, the 90’s were by contrast a scary period, especially in churches. It was a time of tambourines and flag-dancing, and putting ridiculous actions to praise songs (I Walk by Faith, anyone?)
In the middle of this CCM maelstrom, a song dropped that we sung almost weekly at my church – God Will Make a Way, by Don Moen (click here to listen, but be warned, the video is a solid 11 out of 10 on the cringeworthy scale.) At the time, I found the song fine; it was traditional Christian Contemporary music but I didn’t really relate to it. Even though I still don’t love the song, I recently learnt the story behind it, and it totally changed my perspective on it.
God Will Make a Way was written for a family that had just lost a young child in a tragic car accident. Don Moen felt moved to write the simple refrain to give the family hope in a very dark time:
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
The inspiration for this song is Isaiah 43:19, when God promises the people of Israel that he won’t leave them, and will restore them. Hence the refrain:
By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me
Rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and Earth will fade but His Word will still remain
He will do something new today
There are many times in my life when I haven’t been able to see the way ahead, and I’ve needed to hear those words. Often it’s felt like hope is only an illusion, something that can’t be real in such a difficult time. Another passage that really helped me when I found myself struggling for several months was Psalm 84:5-7:
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
I’m sure that like me, you’ve walked through that valley of mourning many times in your life. I’ve often said that I feel God held on to me in my darkest moments, and I still believe that’s true. God promises many things in the Bible, and one consistent message is that God will never leave us or forsake us, even if we feel alone, or if we’ve turned our back on him. Along this line, I’ve also found the words of Falling Up a great comfort:
But every broken heart is a glowing light
He will find it out in the darkness
Every lonely song is a brilliant sound
He will hear it out from a distance
My life hadn’t always gone as I planned, but God has always been near me in the darkness. In light of this, let me encourage you: no matter what your struggle is, God will make a way.
P.S.: You can read the full story about the song here.