Have you ever sung a song a zillion times before truly knowing what it meant?
Like the time I was twelve, listening to the radio in the car with my dad. Unfortunately, I was singing along to a song I'd heard a zillion times before. What was so unfortunate you ask?
It was a song that was popular back then by a group named Salt 'n Pepa. You don't even have to say it. I know!
I knew e v e r y word. Except I didn't know what any of it meant. Not an ounce.
My dad exclaimed, "Amanda Sue, what are you saying?!"
I remember where we were on the road. I remember the mix of disbelief and shock in his voice.
"I don't know." was my answer. And I didn't.
I've thought a lot about this phenomenon of knowing a song, but not knowing a song since that day in 1989. We go through the motions in church too singing song after song, some since we were kids. Never stopping long enough to think about the message the songwriter has laid open for us to hear.
Two Sundays back, we sang the hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul" by Horatio Spafford. (Have you read his story? You really should. It's a must-read.) I have to admit that most of the words just rolled off my tongue since it was so familiar that none of it was sticking to my heart. At least not until we got to that last verse, when I stopped hard and fast at this:
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
When my faith shall be sight?
Oh, yes please. Isn't that what we're all hoping for? The day when those things we're putting our hope and faith into will be seen with new eyes. When it will all make sense. Because it will.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Those souls of ours are well as believers, even in the most tragic of moments. The sorrows that roll like sea billows may mean the loss of a loved one for us, or the end of a relationship. Or any other thing the breaks our oh-so-human hearts. But in the end, our souls are well.
And that's forever.