The music began as the congregation stood to their feet. The familiar tune rang in my ears and in my spirit. I thought, of course. Of course, this song. Today.
I pulled myself up somewhat awkwardly, holding the wooden pew in front of me, seated in the second row on the left, with no one to separate or hide or hinder me from seeing and experiencing the full proclamation of this song...
The girls moved and shifted to my left, and I turned mechanically to tend to them, but Brent had already seen to it and they gladly climbed up into his arms. Brent is here. My heart tightened in my chest. It was our one Sunday in July when Brent was able to be with us on PEI, see our church, and meet our family and friends on the island. My heart churned within me as we explored what would maybe become... our new family.
The sounds swelled in the large room with high ceilings. I closed my eyes. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul! Oh my soul! Worship His holy name...
The memories danced in my spirit, of Lynn leading the worship team in Truro, teaching them this song, seeing how it became a part of our congregational voice of praise, declaring Bless the Lord... Sing like never before, Oh my soul! I'll worship his holy name!
Then images of darkness beckoned me to the place of Lynn's funeral, where I had stood broken and bereaved, having created a funeral service of worship that would bless God and honor Lynn's heart of praise, and yet there having to stand and sing before the coffin of his dead body... Even there, we sang, with tears streaming down our faces, Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes...
As grief overtook my life, day after day became weighted down with fears, concerns, unbearable emptiness, loneliness, and exhaustion. Still, everywhere I went, I would hear this song and in bitter agony wonder, Why on earth did I choose a popular worship chorus to be sung at my husband's funeral!?!?! But of course, I knew the answer. It was very intentional. A constant reminder of my good and great God, who was and is and always will be worthy of my praise and utmost devotion... I knew He was with me. I listened as His word spoke to my heart. And in grace, by faith, I trusted in Him fully, that He would move heaven and earth to accomplish his purposes, for his glory, and come to my rescue.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing, Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find!
There, in that service, and others since that day, I have stood mesmerized by the grace and goodness of the Almighty God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus my Saviour. My God who is three and one. That he had been present in the praises of His people when Lynn and I worshipped and led... That he had been present with extravagant grace in the praises of a broken widow, a single mom, not knowing how to make everything work out right... That He had been present in the making of a new way, a new life, a new family, bringing about a new thing, making streams of water to flow in the desert, and waters to run in the wilderness (Is 43).
Sweet children of God, to exalt the King of Kings, no matter the circumstance, beckons his glory. For a child to put his/her trust in the goodness of Father God, despite death, or evil, or pain, or wickedness... this summons the supernatural provision of a fiercely loving God who longs for opportunities to reveal His heart! He cannot help Himself, but show up in an atmosphere of extravagant praise, with extravagant grace and divine glory.
Did I not say that if you believe me, you will see the glory of God? John 11:40
Oh God, your grace envelops me. Your Presence has never left me. Your goodness has captivated my heart, and I will never bow down to any other God but You.
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
http://youtu.be/XtwIT8JjddM , *Matt Redman