With a loud ear-splitting crack and boom above our heads, the thunder shook the entire house. My eight year old son burrowed tighter into my side as we sat in the big recliner together reading Madeleine L’Engle’s novel “A Wind in the Door”. We had just finished the part where the heroine of the story had just endured a horrible event, and the combination of the tense story and the booming thunder and constant flickering lightening outside had my son rather jumpy. Small hailstones tatted against the window panes as we finished the chapter.
It was time for bed, and after we finished our preparations he begged me to leave his curtains open.
“I’m scared.” He said.
“Wouldn’t you rather have the curtains closed then, so you don’t see?”
“No, I’d rather see if it’s coming closer. I just need to see! Please stay and sing to me!” He asked.
Since he was a baby, whenever he was screaming in the midst of a meltdown or I was on the verge of a meltdown myself, I would sing to him. Sometimes I would be scream-singing in an attempt to drown out the screaming of the child and to also keep myself from doing something I’d regret. Eventually the scream-singing would subside into a gentler tune and the two of us would find ourselves calming down–the rush of our emotions fading into contentment and peace.
So tonight I found the words to an old hymn spilling from my mouth. I grew up on hymn’s and I often find the words of one coming to mind or a tune filling my head. For some reason I can remember them far better than the modern worship music I’ve been surrounded by for the past twenty years. The old hymns resonate deep within me.
“This is my Father’s world . . .” I sang softly, the tune rich and beautiful in my mind, dripped slowly from my mouth and breathed over the open, trusting face of my son.
The room lit with unearthly white light for a split second and then returned to the soft glow of the bedside lamp.
“And to my list-‘ning ears All nature sings, and round me rings The music of the spheres.”
Deep long rumbling in the heavens above and then another loud boom as a wave of rain spattered hard against the windows. The tall spruce trees outside bent to the strong winds and I briefly thought about them (as I always do when the strong winds come) snapping and falling on top of the roof above and crushing us beneath.
I raised my voice louder against the cacophony outside “This is my Father’s world! I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–His had the wonders wrought.”
On to the next verse . . .
“This is my Father’s world– The birds their carols raise; The morning light,”
FLASH! FLASH! The room lit up again and my son’s eyes grew big and excited.
“The lily white, Declare their Maker’s praise.”
“Mom! Mom! When you sang light, the lightning flashed!”
“Isn’t that nifty?” And I continued on singing.
“This is my Father’s World! He shines–”
“It happened again!” He interrupted to make sure I noticed. I had.
“–in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass–He speaks to me ev’ry-where.”
I thought, in a quick moment between verses, about how this world just doesn’t make sense to me these days. How can such evil things happen? Where is God in all of this? Does he not care? Did He not say He was love? Where is this love? Does love make any difference at all? How can I so naively teach my son that this is God’s world and that He cares for the whole world and that we can trust Him, and that we don’t need to be afraid, because I’m not too sure some days if I believe it myself?
A big deep breath and “This is my Father’s world– O let me ne’er for-get That tho the wrong seems oft so strong God is the Ru-ler yet.”
Shivers course down my spine, as the world outside lights up brilliantly again. And the Spirit repeats softly to my frantic mind, O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong God is the Ruler yet. And I relax into the moment. I find myself choosing again to trust the apostle John who wrote about the marvelous love the Father has lavished on us, calling us His children, and that we are held safe and firm in His hand.
BOOM! CRACK! The heavens continue to rip apart in continuous groans that eventually fade to the sound of swishing trees and the house shuddering to wind blasts.
“This is my Father’s world! The bat-tle is not done; Jesus who died shall be sat-is-fied, And earth and heav’n be one.”
“Well then you sing with me.”
We raised our voices to the wind and the thunder, with the lightning flashing in all the appropriate places, and finishing strong the last line.
“Jesus who died shall be sat-is-fied, And earth and heav’n be one.”
That is the prayer of my heart today.
Be satisfied my Jesus, Come near! Move into my neighbourhood, make your home with us! Let us be together for good! No more death, no more tears, no more pain. No more endless struggle to love and have no love returned, no more failure to beat back evil and brokenness and shame. No more heartaches and heartbreaks. No more loneliness and aloneness. No more guilt and confusion. No more separation and endless waiting. The broken made unbroken. Everything will be made new!
This is what I live in hope of and I pray for and I lay my trust in.
“Do not be afraid.” I whisper, as much to myself as to my son, “Trust in the One who holds the whole world in His hands.”
Read a similar blog post on my other site about how Songs have lifted my spirits and calmed my fears on occasions in the past here: https://lessonslearnedinthebush.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/singing-the-darkness-away/