I Still Believe

Excerpt from I STILL BELIEVE by Jeremy Camp –

It was in the midst of my raw sadness that God spoke very clearly to my heart one morning: “Pick up your guitar.  I have something for you to write.

Pick up my…..what?”

I didn’t hear God speaking to me audibly, and I don’t always heart His voice prompting me as clearly as I would like.  But in the  days, weeks, and months following Melissa’s passing, I heard Him “speaking” in my heart a lot more than I ever had before.  Looking back, I believe the Lord was reminding me that He is very near to the brokenhearted.  Also, I think God knew how numb I was, how incapable I was of seeing things clearly, and how desperately I needed the clarity and guidance that only He could bring.

In this particular moment, my honest, gut-level response was to argue with God.  “No, Lord..no.  The LAST thing I want to do is play my guitar!”

After trying to avoid His voice for quite a while and occupy myself with other tasks, I realized that this strong directive was not going to fade away.  In fact, it was growing stronger.  Reluctantly, with what little energy I could manage, I picked up my guitar and started playing some chords.  Sometimes obedience to the Lord’s prompting–even when it’s not the most wholehearted obedience or even when it’s not the most wholehearted obedience at first–brings about a startling change.  This was one of those moments.  Tears began to flow as I played, and so did the words and notes that would become the song ‘I Still Believe’.  The words were a looking glass into how I was feeling.

In these words I was crying out, “God, I don’t understand.  I’m scattered.  I’m broken.  The fog is so thick that I can’t even see my own hand in front of my face.  And yet….even in the middle of all of this pain and hurt, I DO feel Your grace.  I DO sense Your hand of mercy.  I still believe You are here with me, even if the pain in my heart is making it so difficult to feel Your presence.  No matter what, Lord, You are faithful.  You are FAITHFUL.  YOU are faithful.  I will believe that.”

One line in the song–‘Though the questions fog up my mind, with promises I still seem to bear…’—was really difficult to write and to think about.  I often wondered if the weight of grief bearing down might crush me, especially as I wrestled with so many promises Melissa and I had held onto.  We had thought she would be healed, that our future together would be bright.  We had come through a shadowy forest of doubt and had arrived at what we hoped, believed and trusted would be a clearing of sun-drenched hope.  Because of that journey from sickness to health back to sickness, I was confused, and I had to be honest with God.  If He was going to speak to me so clearly, I definitely felt my heart and mind bursting to respond.

I don’t get it, God!” I cried, continuing to play my guitar.  “What do I make of all of this?” As I prayed and questioned and wept, the bridge of the song poured forth from the deepest recesses of my heart: “In brokenness I can see that this was Your will for me.

This was Your will for me.

I was a little bit surprised to hear those particular words come out.  Was it, really?  Could it have been His will for Melissa to suffer and go home so young, with so much in front of her?  I wasn’t sure how to look at it.  Did the Lord simply allow her passing to happen as a consequence of life in a broken, sinful world, or could it actually have been something He orchestrated as a part of His will.  If it were the former scenario, I had to wonder why God would allow it.  Couldn’t He have stopped her suffering and healed her?! If it were the latter, then it seemed far too painful to grasp on this side of heaven that God’s will would include such a wrenching twist.

As I grappled with this deep question, it became apparent to me why some people slip into a place of blaming God for “taking away” a loved one.  It certainly can feel that way.  I could see myself going that direction if I weren’t very, very careful.  The last thing I wanted was to become bitter and turn away from God.  Even as I asked tough questions of Him and longed for better answers than the ones that seemed to be available at the time, I knew deep down that I would have to find rest in the fact that some things will not make sense until we get to heaven.

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