New song at The Well: “Heavy”

We have been singing a new song at The Well called “Heavy”. Our worship leader, Shep, wrote the song, and wrote this post to give the back story.

A HEAVY SONG

The song “Heavy” came out of the middle of one the most difficult times in my life. Yes, it is a very personal song to me, but I feel like the message transcends my own life and situation. Without going into too much detail, I will say that it is in our fallen nature to rely on our self and our own strength. The burdens grow and grow, and we just keep moving. Sometimes a something comes that just plows us over, but most often it’s just little added weight every day.

It’s against every fiber of my nature to allow myself to be weak, but I am always pulled back to Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth: “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

THE BEGINNING 

The song begins as a breath of exasperation.

Father it all feels,
Like it’s too much.
My strength is gone.
And I’m not enough.

And it all feels,
So heavy.
This life I’ve made,
I cannot carry.

When we sing these words, it’s a deep sigh. You hold out all and your chest drops with the word “feels”. You can feel the weight of it. Like a 20 pound rock on your chest. We’ve all been there. Suffering is woven into the human condition. We all know that it’s not how life was meant to be. We all have that longing to be picked up and comforted by our Creator. As the old saying goes, “There are no “atheists foxholes”. No matter how far we run from God, even the hardest hearts I’ve known still wish for connection with something beyond themselves.

THE REALITY OF GOD

Fortunately for us God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling (Ps. 46:1-3).

We often forget about who God is, His character, and all that He has done in our life. We lose the forest for trees. This is rarely solely circumstantial, but a result of lack of intentionality. We feel like God is far from us, but we don’t seek Him. I love the promise, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (Jas. 4:8). Our nature screams at us, CONTROL THIS! FIX THIS! DO WHATEVER IT TAKES! All the while, in direct opposition to our nature, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control (Gal. 5:22-23).

So we cry out to God to remind us of who he is, what he has done, and who I am NOW because of Jesus. Because with Christ there is pain, but there is peace. There is discomfort, but there is joy. Because we know that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). He wasn’t bored. He didn’t design us as a cosmic toy to experiment on. He stepped into our pain, our tragedy, our hurt, and our mess because He loves us. We are the only part of creation made in His image and we have value because of that. And because we know that He works out all things for our good (Rom. 8:28), we can boldly proclaim:

I put my trust in You. 
You are my refuge.
You deliver me. 
You are my victory.
I am a child of You. 
I am restored, made new.

And remind ourselves that HE GIVES US LIFE! For he has come that we may have “life and life more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

REALIZATION AND RESPONSE

Now, in light of all that of that we settle into the reality that I cannot do this on my own. Matt Chandler says that sanctification is a dance of two steps forward and one step back. We realize that we can’t do this and we beg Jesus to take control of our life, then we think life is going great and we try to drive without him… then everything starts to unravel and we beg him to take over again. This is the ebb and flow of our Christian walk; dying to self, forgetting, and then having to die again. This song is all realization followed by response. The bridge is carries the same theme.

Realization:

I can not do this own my own,
without You upon the throne,
of this life I do now own,
I need You, and You alone.

Response:

I give You this life, I give You this life.
I surrender my rights, I surrender my rights
I give You this life, I give You this life.
I surrender my rights, I give you this life.

There are really only three ways to take the news of Jesus: 1) Hate, fear, and anger. 2) Indifference. 3) We give everything and run after Him. We like to think that we can hold onto our selfishness and not really give Jesus all of us… but he demands all of you.  You can avoid him and try to run from him, but he will relentlessly pursue you. We either serve the one true God, or we serve the “god” of self and of our own desire. Either way we are a slave. But only one of those choices has our best at heart, and promises deep fulfillment and joy.

THEN THE SONG STARTS OVER

So why repeat the song? Why start over? Because it’s a journey. Our God wants us to rise up to a mature understanding of Him. So when we sing the verse again, we don’t sing it with exasperation, but with confidence, standing on truth. Truth that hard times will come. But this time instead of Remind me we sing “Remember”. Pain, tragedy, and disappointment all purify us. It strips away the facade of the world and gives us an opportunity to see that we have NOTHING that can’t be taken from us. All we have that is constant is Jesus. So through the past trials that grew our faith we remember who He is, what He has done, and who we are now because of Jesus. So we boldly put our trust in Him.

The Old Testament has 15 chapters devoted entirely to the retelling of Israel’s redemption story. Why? Because we forget. Our tendency as people is to see what is right in front of us, but forget all that God has done in the past. Not just historically in the bible or in other believer’s lives, but in our own lives as well. Imagine that you are a soldier on the front-lines of a battle. Your enemy is 20 men with small arms in an open field. You are well armed and covered in the best body armor money can buy. But not only that, you also have 5,000 tanks, 100,000 men, and full air support right behind you. Now how crazy would it be for you to see these men, fear for your life, and run away as fast as you can just because they are all that you see in front of you? That’s how it is with us and God. We see what’s right in front of us and we freak out. We try to manipulate, control, and run. All the while forgetting how many times God has shown up in the past.

YOUR RESPONSE

Maybe you aren’t giving God an opportunity to show up in a big way. I know that when my prayer is “God, there is no possible way that I can do anything about this situation. Either you show up, or I’m done for”, that puts me in an incredible situation to grow my faith and see God move. Maybe you are at this spot where you just feel like everything is so heavy.

My prayer for you is that you would turn to Jesus. My daughter tries to be so strong when she gets hurt or is feeling emotional. She doesn’t want to break down and cry. But when I see in her eyes that it’s just too much, I go to her and scoop her up in my arms and the tears just flow. This doesn’t make her weak, but it makes me strong. It strengthens our bond and our love for each other. She finds comfort and security in her daddy’s arms.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Maybe you just need to run to your Daddy’s arms and weep. Feel the pain and heaviness fall off of you. He wants to give you rest, and give you life. I pray that you take it. And I pray that this song leads you closer into His arms.

-Shep

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