March 27, 2017 – Monday
Read: Isaiah 40:28 – 31, TLB
Focus: v. 31, TLB
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Have you been through what I call a “Broken Hallelujah” experience, a time when everything piles up and then comes crashing down around you all at the same time? When the suffering and pain seem worse than ever and you are not sure if life will ever be good again? I had several of those times between 1984 and 2012. Up until then our life had been manageable and mostly wonderful. But it seemed that once the dominoes began to fall there was no stopping them. One particularly difficult time was in 2006 when our life changed forever, again, with my husband’s heart attack. He loves to testify about the peace that God gave to him and the lack of pain.. On the flip side, though, was me falling apart (Even as God held me in His hands and met my every need!). I was holding a lot inside and trying not to cry constantly – in January of 2007 we were riding in a car, possibly to one of the never-ending doctor’s appointments, when I heard a song on the radio that really touched me by its melody and by the anguish I felt in the song. I could not hear well enough to understand the words but I did hear the chorus which began with “Hallelujah” and ended with, “a Broken Hallelujah.” Immediately the thought came to me from God, “I know your hallelujah is broken, but we can fix that – just come to Me.” The tears began as I acknowledged that, “Yes, my hallelujah was broken” and I had been suffering in silence, alone. I felt the hope begin to spring up as I remembered that God knew it all, all along He knew, and waited for me to bring it to Him! I felt a new calm about the future and a new hope from Him! He gave strength and renewal to my exhausted, weary, and faint heart.
The crucifixion experience could have been a broken hallelujah time for Christ, and it sure was for his followers – but because He gained strength to go through it from His Father, and was able to persevere – because of that, we can also triumph and be renewed as we wait upon the Lord! Do you have a broken hallelujah that needs to be taken to the Lord?
(**A Note from Pastor Dan** – “Hallelujah” – Written by Leonard Cohen, Linked version Performed by Rufus Wainright – Cohen, who died in Nov. of 2016, was Jewish. While the song uses biblical imagery, it is not a “Christian” or “Religious” song. The lyrics do explore a great sense of brokenness and a search for meaning in life’s most difficult times – especially those brought on by broken relationships. Consider alternate versions from Jeff Buckley, Pentatonix and Cloverton (Hallelujah Christmas).
**It’s hard to reconcile the existence of pain and suffering with the All-Loving God of Christian faith. Precisely what I love about the devotional above is that it explores how God helps us to deal with and rise above our pain and suffering. It’s honest and simple – leaving the theological complications to others. It deals with things on an emotional level, which is where we are at during those times of suffering. There are theological answers to this conundrum (how can a good and loving God allow pain and suffering?) and I invite you to look deeper into the subject after the emotional trauma has passed. Consider this Catholic article on C.S. Lewis and his book The Problem of Pain. The reality is that, when we are going through a difficult time, theological answers don’t offer much help. Emotions, at their strongest, usually don’t care about logic or reason. As a pastor I find the best comfort I can provide in those times is simply my presence. We go through our broken hallelujahs best when we do it together. An embrace and a shared tear go much further than theology, sometimes.)