Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Choose Joy

There are moments when no one wants to worship. Moments that are so heartbreaking, so devastating that all we want to do is weep. I've been there. Last November held one of the darkest moments of my life, a moment that I wish I could erase. And the very last thing I wanted to do in the midst of my pain was raise my hands heavenward and worship my Maker.

Yet all I could think about was the incredibly beautiful moment I witnessed on Oct 20, 2012. We were at the funeral for a dear friend, Colonel Gary Herchenroeder, who had passed away suddenly at the age of 49. He and his wife had only been married for three years and were one of the most beautiful, radiant couples I have ever known.

At the funeral, one of the songs we sang was "10,000 Reasons". I don't thing I'll ever be able to sing that song without thinking of the Colonel because it perfectly describes the way he lived. During the song, I happened to glance over at Colonel's wife, Lisa. I wouldn't have thought twice if she had been sitting in tears, but I was awed instead - for she stood with her hands raised, face radiant - praising her King. Worshipping in the moment of saying goodbye to her husband. Worshipping when it had to hurt incredibly deeply.

I was so moved by her response, but I had questions too. How could she worship in the midst of all that? How could her response be praise - not anger or hurt?

It didn't make sense to me.

Then, last September, I found myself at another funeral - this time for Caleb's Uncle Randy ("Ranj") who passed away at the age of 51 after battling cancer. Another special man, transferred to glory long before expected.

As I watched Aunt Teresa at the funeral, I saw the very same thing I had seen almost a year before - hands outstretched in worship. Wow. Beautiful, incredible, and amazing all at the same time.

And as I watched, I realized something. These incredible women were not worshipping because it's what they felt like doing or because they weren't hurting deeply.

They chose to worship. 

They chose to say, "You know what, I don't know why, God. But I trust You."

As I walked through deployment the past year, these beautiful moments of worship lingered in my thoughts often. When I wondered how I could continue, how I could find the strength, how I could find any sense of joy in such a difficult season - I thought of how they had offered their worship as a sacrifice in so much harder circumstances than mine. And I realized that if they could worship in their darkest hour, so could I.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written! I think that's one of the beautiful things of being a Christian - when life is so hard we feel we can't bear it, we have someone we can lean on and know He'll get us through.

    Also, I can never hear that song without thinking of Colonel Herchenroeder either. I couldn't even tell you what other songs were sung at the funeral, but every time I hear that song I think of the funeral and what a great man he was.