Secret Battles

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I’ve learned a few things over the course of my life.

One of the most important lessons I’ve picked up is this: you can be around people on a regular, sometimes daily, basis and never know the secret battles they face.

People who put on a brave face and wear a smile can be fighting all sorts of demons– anxiety, insecurity, eating disorders, depression, self-loathing, self-harm.

Sometimes, a person will trust you enough to let you in a little. Often, you will never see all the cracks and broken places.

The beauty is that God sees. When you don’t know how to pray for someone you suspect is going through hard times, you can visualize leading that person to Jesus and letting Him envelop that person, His love filling all the broken places and wounds that person is carrying.

Christmas is all about Emmanuel who didn’t come from above to rescue us from on high, but came from beneath us to lift us up with Him. He became the lowliest of the low, born in a barn in a redneck little town to two nobodies.

The Bible says that as our High Priest, Jesus is able to sympathize with all our weaknesses. He knows all those secret battles you face.

I was reminded of an old favorite song of mine by Julie Miller. She was sexually abused as a child and was able to turn that great pain into great art in the form of some incredible songs. Here’s one:

“I have seen the night of a million tears,
I have seen an angel’s smile,
I have come of age and remained, these years, with the longings of a child.

Nobody but you can find my heart,
Nobody but you sees in the dark,
Nobody but you can call my name and scatter all my pain.

I have had the fears of an orphaned heart,
I have had a homeless soul,
I have been embraced in the arms of grace,
You have brought my spirit home.

Nobody but you can find my heart,
Nobody but you sees in the dark,
Nobody but you can call my name and scatter all my pain.

Nobody but you can find my heart,
Nobody but you sees in the dark,
Nobody but you can call my name and scatter all my pain.

Nobody but you, nobody but you,
Nobody but you, nobody but you,
Nobody but you, nobody but you,
Nobody but you.”

 

More Music & Nostalgia

  
Today, I got a CD in the mail. Not a big deal. I’ve gotten a few of those over the years (understatement of the century to say the least).

This one was a bit different. This was an album by a band called Johnny Clegg & Savuka that my uncle introduced me to almost 20 years ago. I wish I could thank him again, but he’s no longer living. All I have left are the music and the memories. I can see his face every time I listen to a Grateful Dead song.

In fact, both my uncles on my dad’s side helped to instill in me a great love for music as well as inspiring me to broaden my musical horizons, a move that I have never once regretted.

For me, music is better than just about anything else at conjuring up old memories.

Whenever I hear a Julie Miller song, I’m immediately transported back to Union University circa 1993 and some great friends who really modeled what real Christian faith lived out could be. Not stuffy, pew-sitting faith, but vibrant every-day kind of faith that was honest and transparent.

I can hear any Phil Collins song and immediately feel the same way that I did as an 8th grader way back in 1986.  Heck, just about any 80’s song will transport me back to junior high/high school.

That’s what makes the musical aspect of worship so great. Music is the best way to trigger memories of God’s faithfulness in the past to remind you that He’s still faithful now.

I can still remember how my grandmother, long after she’d forgotten her address and the names of most of the people she loved, still able to sing the old hymns that were embedded deep in a part of her brain that Alzheimer’s couldn’t touch.

After all, music is the only expression that activates and utilizes every part of the brain. But that’s another topic for another day.