A few weeks ago it started to wear on me not being with Wesley House students. I started missing worship with you. I started missing The Table in its pre digital form. I started missing Nights of Worship. I started missing retreat and the times of worship on retreat.
Around that same time, Alyssa sent a song to the Wesley House Staff. The song felt new…because it is…but it also felt familiar.
It is the song Graves Into Gardens by Elevation Worship and Brandon Lake.
This song oddly flashes me back to college. We used to have these nights of worship in the college ministry I was involved in called Friday Night Praise. We’d cram a ton of people into this old house and sing worship songs for hours. Hearing this song, the style, the lyrics, it all felt in some weird way oddly familiar. Then as I was reflecting on the words, I had this thought. This song points to the familiar and consistent working of God. Everyday we try and do this thing called life on our own, every day we find that it fails us in some way, and every day God is there with ridiculous mercy and grace to work in our lives. In lamentations 3:22-23 it says that
the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
That kind of mercy is familiar…and I’m okay with that. I need that.
I love how the song starts. This is us…all of us…each and every day. We are constantly looking, but never finding what we actually want and need. We see this story repeated from the beginning of scriptures throughout each and every person’s life since then. It is the story of the prodigal son. Like that story, God welcomes us back. God puts us back together. God provides a deeper fulfillment than we could have ever received on our own.
I searched the world But it couldn't fill me Man's empty praise and treasures that fade Are never enough Then You came along And put me back together And every desire is now satisfied Here in Your love It is in this realization that we say the incredibly simple chorus. There is nothing better than God.
It is in this realization that we say the incredibly simple chorus. There is nothing better than God.
There's nothing better than You Lord, there's nothing Nothing is better than You
Now, the second verse is a bit more challenging. I am afraid to show my weaknesses. I am afraid to admit those things. Because of pride and ego I do not want to admit I don’t have it together, so this first line really is more of a hope for me. But then I am reminded again that these are not new or shocking to God. and it won’t scare God away. Because the God who is with me in my highest moments is in my weakest moments and will never fail me. I cannot go where God’s mercy and grace cannot go. That is comforting in my seasons of arrogance.
I'm not afraid To show You my weakness My failures and flaws, Lord, You've seen them all And You still call me friend 'Cause the God of the mountain Is the God of the valley There's not a place Your mercy and grace Won't find me again
Then we get to the bridge. This really is the transforming power of God. God takes all of the darkest most difficult things, and turns them into stories of redemption and restoration. And God is the only one who can do such a thing.
You turn mourning to dancing You give beauty for ashes You turn shame into glory You're the only one who can You turn graves into garden You turn bones into armies You turn seas into highways You're the only one who can
If you want to put a smile on your face, listen to this song today. It may feel new to you…because likely it is…but I think the words and truth of the song will feel so familiar. And honestly, it’s the truth we need to hear each and every day.
On a side note, I used to lead worship in college. As noted above we would do these long acoustic nights of worship where we would jump from song to song. It was awesome. We’d end some songs and then realize that another song could fit, so we’d mash songs together. When Corbin Healy (The Wesley House Worship Coordinator) heard me talk about what it was like when I led in college he assumed it sounded like the acoustic version of Everything is Awesome from the Lego Movie.
Since I heard this song, I want him to imagine something more like Graves into Gardens.
Plus I used to have awesome long hair in college too.
What songs are really speaking to you right now?