I live in the South. Those familiar with this region of the United States understand that the old cliché “when it rains it pours,” was first uttered by a Southerner. I cannot prove it, neither can I ascertain if the state of origin was Mississippi, Florida, or South Carolina, but the intuitive gene etched into my DNA assures me that it was first said by someone in one of those states. I’ve driven in downpours in each of the aforementioned regions, so please, trust me on this one.
Last week, I rushed my children to the car as storm clouds pelted dime-sized drops of water on our covered heads. Pumpkindoodle bounced from puddle to puddle, excited to indoctrinate her new Cheetah print rain coat and boots. Pickle squinted closed his blue eyes, crinkled his little nose, and let loose a hearty giggle after one drop landed on his forehead and rolled down his chubby face. My little ones sensed adventure. Their mommy sensed possible danger. However, I was determined not to let a little storm deter us from attending the last MOPS meeting of the year. Besides, I thought, these storms roll in and out quickly.
As I drove closer to our church, the fierceness of the storm increased its intensity. Some sections of the streets morphed into wading pools and lightning bulleted from the grumpy sky. I took a few deep breaths and calmly asked my little girl to hold any questions she had for me until we entered the church. Mommy needed to concentrate. And pray. I turned up the volume on the car stereo. God’s timing was perfect as always. The song in my CD player was Hallelujah from Detour 180. Pumpkindoodle interrupted my silent prayer, “Mommy, this is such a beautiful song, can we play it over and over, and over?” I told her that I thought that was a great idea.
As the band sang words of praise, we sang along. My praise, became my prayer. I praised Him for making the stars above and the water beneath. And as I praised Him, my heart rate slowed down and fear received a good heave-ho. My God was and always is in control. That’s another phrase that has become somewhat of a cliché. Yet at that moment, it was the only thought piercing my mind. Amazingly, as that truth sunk in, so did immense joy. They rain continued to beat down on my car, yet my spirit danced.
Pumpkindoodle and I continued to sing aloud for the next 25 minutes. When the car pulled into the parking lot, I felt relaxed and strangely rejuvenated. And even though the singing was loud, it did not overpower the voice of God. “Angela,” He whispered, “Please remember this. Continue to praise me in the storms of life. Not just with a half-hearted sigh about how I am good and that I will see you through, but with genuine zest. Even if the Professor does not get a new teaching job this year. Even if all four of you end up living with your parents. Even if your already small budget tightens more…praise Me. With all your heart, Praise Me, and then you will truly feel my peace.”
Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”
Mark 35-41 (The Message)
Here are the lyrics to the beautiful song that inspired my heart to sing praises during a literal storm and a song I will sing in the face of storms of the metaphorical persuasion.
Hallelujah – Detour 180
Who made the stars, for the evening? Who made the sun, for the dawn? The mountains above The valleys beneath Sing your praise The heavens above The waters beneath Sing your praise
Lord of mercy You can hear me Singing sovereign I adore thee
Click HERE to hear the song in its entirety.
words – matthew w.j. chapman and jonathan scarlet © 2002 parachute musicmusic – matthew w.j. chapman © 2002 parachute music