Scripture: Psalm 34:1 – “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continuously be in my mouth.”
The story behind this blog post’s song is so sad and yet from it has come a song of such beauty that epitomises the very meaning of Psalm 34:1. The notion of blessing the Lord at all times is one that seems doable when things are going well and to an extent when things are not ideal; but the real challenge is our reaction when faced with crisis. The Grover’s, whose story inspired JJ Heller to write this stunning song, were faced with one of the most heart wrenching situations a couple could ever be forced to deal with. 23 weeks into their pregnancy which had up until that point seemed normal, it was discovered that their daughter had a congenital defect which meant that survival outside of the womb would be nearly impossible.
Amber Grover and her husband opted to view Olivianna’s life as a means by which God’s love and glory was being demonstrated to them. As they prayed for healing, and learnt to submit to God’s will even in the most trying of times they were able to give thanks to Jesus for holding them together in the midst of calamity. Amber started a blog to share her thoughts and frustrations with the world. Through this blog people Olivianna’s very short life on this earth has touched lives the world over, proving that just as the song’s lyrics state, ‘life is short, but it is wide’ and that if we truly bless the Lord at all times beauty will be found in every situation however ugly its beginning may have been.
I have posted the link to Amber Grover’s blog below should you wish to read more about Olivianna’s story and her journey.
Scripture: Jeremiah 30:17 – For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, [saying], This [is] Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
Sometimes in life it can seem as though everything is the absolute absolute opposite of what it should be. When even the things that should be absolute basics are not at all as they should be we start to wonder if there is something wrong with us; or indeed if there is anything that can be done to bring a slight semblance of normality to the situation.
In no circumstance are such feelings more common than in a family life that is not conventional. Pride has us put on a front, when deep down our hearts are in turmoil and though it is not the intention of christian circles, at times the desire to appear righteous and put together can stop such issues being discussed amongst believers.
This is why it was love at first listen when I heard Corey Porter’s track Broken. The subtle hip hop beat coupled with the smooth hooky chorus and his hard hitting lyrics in the verses describe the feelings that people struggle with on a daily basis with such accuracy. The issues he chose to speak on are quite extreme but not uncommon. They are issues that get brushed under the rug so it was refreshing to hear him do them justice. His honest interpretation of the emotions that are felt in such situations demonstrates his ability to put himself in the other people’s shoes and feel compassion for them. A trait which we should all cultivate within ourselves to ensure that we don’t judge people in any circumstance but rather pray either for or with them, that they might see the change that they so desperately desire in their situation.
A plea is made to the Lord to help put the family back together in the chorus and this is the most effective thing that we can do in these circumstances. We as humans can do our bit to try and mend broken relationships but the other parties involved need to be receptive to our efforts. This can only happen once wounds have been healed and peace restored. In Jeremiah 30:17 our gracious and loving father promises to bring restoration to his people and this is a promise that anyone can tap into. So if your heart is wounded in anyway, speak to the Lord for he has the remedy, he’s just waiting for you to ask!
Scripture: Deuteronomy 3:16 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them. For the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
On a daily basis doubts, fears and worries creep into our minds. We wonder will I be able to do what I need to? Will they like me? What if this project turns out to be a disaster? The list, I am sure you will agree, goes on.
To ask such questions is human and is in a way a good thing since we are acknowledging our own weakness rather than being filled with pride and confidence in our own ability. However we must never forget the Lord’s promise never to leave or forsake us. Our confidence should come from the fact that the almighty Lord our God is always with us. Loud harp’s atmospheric worship song ‘Always with you’ does a great job of reminding us of God’s promise to us.
Starting off quietly and almost as though unsure, the same simple lyrics are repeated over and over, while different musical elements are added in with every repetition. As the song builds up you get the feeling that each time Asher Seevink and Dave Walton who make up Loud Harp sing of God’s promise they grow in their ability to overcome any nagging doubts. This simple worship song is beautiful and a wonderful tool to use to meditate on God’s promise never to leave nor forsake us.
Remember He is with us ALWAYS!