Then Sings My Soul

It was like the moment after your feet have left the diving board, but before you splash into the pool. The split second between the pitch and the crack of the bat. The time between the first tear of wrapping paper and when you actually get to see the gift.

Sheer anticipation and adrenaline and curiosity and wonder and stillness, combined with wild hope.

We stood shoulder-to-shoulder, heart-to-heart as the wind played with our hair and the city lights winked at us from below.

It was a taste of heaven.

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It was a concert, yes. Some of the biggest names in Christian music. But you wouldn’t know it, really. Because the names on stage made sure that the biggest name in the house that night was God’s. They united us all, hundreds of thousands of small names, from every suburb and far-away city, despite differences in political slant and church background and history. They united us under One Name, the Only Name, the name of the one who made the stars under which we sat.

And with a sound like a thousand tiny feet stepping over the threshold and coming home, we sang.

We sang those all-too-familiar songs that we hear on the radio, lips mouthing those phrases well-worn and well-loved. We sang with a hunger that rivaled any physical hunger I’ve ever experienced. We sang “Forever” and “Lord I Need You” and “10,000 Reasons.” We sang as Matt Maher played the piano and Chris Tomlin strummed his guitar and Matt Redman declared God’s goodness in his sweet British accent. I got chills when “How Great Thou Art” and “It Is Well With My Soul” were woven in. We sang out hearts out. We sang together.

We danced. We danced under a ceiling of only sky, the sounds of praise bouncing off those big red rocks that surround the auditorium. We danced like we were shaking off the stresses of a thousand stressful days. We danced and held one another, lifting prayers and lifting hearts to Him wordlessly, in the midst of the lyrics of each song, like questions written in between the lines.

We prayed. We prayed for our country, for our leadership. We prayed for the pastors in the house, and for those who are sick. Those who were desperate for a relationship to be healed, for a decision to be made clear. We prayed hard. Because we believe that when we pray, we are heard. And we believe that prayer shakes up the hearts of both the givers and the receivers of it. And we believe that the best days are not behind, but in God’s grace and sovereignty, they are yet to come.

It was worship unlike any I’ve yet experienced. Whole, unashamed, totally crazy good.

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As a church-goer and Christ follower and broken person trying to get to know this Jesus guy, I felt like I was ready to die right then. Picture it: thousands of people unashamedly singing to God, pure joy all around, the sheer beauty of it so huge that I know it must have been heard by angels. Little me, learning and wondering, surrounded by some of my dearest friends who are on this journey with me, tears and laughter mixing together. “Heaven,” I thought. “This is what it’s going to be like that day.”

But I also thought…how do I explain something like this to my friends who aren’t really into church, or who don’t know this crazy awesome God of mine? How do I explain an experience so fulfilling that I let the tears fall? How do I explain how completely my hope rests in this life-altering love?

I really don’t know. But I will say this.

Have you ever heard the sound?

The sound of your own soul hurt when someone betrays, when your dreams don’t work out, when you got the news that you wish you could reverse?

Or maybe when you felt accepted, or heard, for the first time? When you worked so hard and your determination was rewarded? When the church doors opened to reveal the most beautiful bride you’ve ever seen?

That hurt-filled sound? That hopeful sound?

Well, God has super sonic ears. He hears when the door slams and your expectations shatter. He hears the silent moment when you decide to give up. He hears the phrase that you just can’t seem to shake out of your head.

And this night – this night was a new sound to Him. To the one who hears. As a tiny thank you for all the listening he does for us every day, we wrote a new soundtrack to our Father with the singing and the dancing and the between-the-lines thanking.

The hurt-filled sounds were replaced with a hopeful sound.

It was the sound of once-embarrassed voices belting it out without shame. It was the sound of once-mute, once-dead people erupting with their very first words of life. It was the sound of a thousand knees hitting the gravel in prayer, in hope – a thousand joints and a thousand lies cracking as we all went down.

It was like the moment after your feet have left the diving board, but before you splash into the pool. The split second between the pitch and the crack of the bat. The time between the first tear of wrapping paper and when you actually get to see the gift.

Sheer anticipation and adrenaline and curiosity and wonder and stillness, combined with wild hope.

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