Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lament 3 (How Great Is Our God?)

I've been writing poetry lately. Well, it's more like spoken word, and I wanted to show it to guys. I think I want to do stuff like this more. This is the third "lament" I've written, but the first one I'm officially sharing. This has been on my heart a lot, so I hope it resonates with you. If you don't want to watch the video, the script is on the bottom. 

Let me know what you think.
(Please excuse the bad quality and the stuttering.)


How great is our God?

We say that a lot
we believe He is good 
when He gives us what we want
But how much of that do we believe
when our life gets tough?
our ideas fall to pieces, strangely enough

how great is our God?

In my heartache and hurt I wondered if it was true
why God would send me down the path that lead me to you
the hurt you inflicted caused a serious wound
now my trust is diminished and has become ruined
how great is our God
can I say that with sincerity 
when all He is done is left me without any clarity
He gives and He takes
but lately its been more of the latter
Is He really listening to my prayers?
or is He too busy with other chatter?

how great is our God?

in the Old Testament and the ancient Scriptures 
I see a God who killed and waged wars
and awarded  adulterers 
I see justice by bloodshed and holy wars
I see refugees begging are answered with closed doors
the saints of today are more like the sinners
its hard to tell them apart when they both act so bitter
the world is a mess and looks more like cat litter
in the midst of all that
is our God any better?

how great is our God?

when the world has turned to chaos and violence
and believers cry out and are answered with silence
when good people die and bad people prosper 
and life is unfair 
and things only seem to get harder
how great is our God?

this question keeps me up at night and stops me from sleeping
how great is our God in the midst of my weeping?
is He good, is He loving, is He really omnipotent?
what I compare Him to is His worldly equivalent
my father he left me after years of abuse
so in my mind I see God with this big cup of booze
He's sipping His Jack with His hand in the air
He says "Faith, now really? Did you have to go there?"

so how great is our God?

the problem I see is my own narrow view
I think if hurt touches me it mustn't be true
that God could really love me while I'm feeling so blue 
when He doesn't take away my problems or lead me through
I think God's greatness is the same as my success 
when He never promised me I would always be blessed

how great is our God?

when we stop feeling like God owes us something
can we stop and see Him as all awe inspiring?
can we give credit where credit is due
when we look at Jesus Christ, the son of a Jew?
His death is important, but I want to show His life
how He lived among us and dealt with our strife
He never expected for us to love Him
He came as a servant what we did was shove Him
we pushed Him aside because we wanted something better
but God, Jesus Christ, is the best good that there ever was

in my pain I created a version of God so small
that He could not save me from my vicious brawls
He was indifferent to my suffering, He neglected my hurt
He didn't care about the pain on the Earth
the things that I learned and took as a fact 
were that God could end the world with the drop of a hat
years of reinforcement and false learning 
showed me that God's viscous wrath should be something I'm yearning
I should wait for the day He takes out His rage 
on a world of hurting people who barely make a wage

I believed in a version of the bible that made me suicidal 
because I thought my God was just standing by idle
or on my worse nights, I thought He was angry
I thought today was the day that He would come take me
but that is not my God, the one I created
He was nothing more than a figment of imagination
if I discard all the things I was told
and all of the ideas pain told me to hold
if I look at the Scriptures, pure and untouched,
I see a God who loves me so very much

how great is our God?

I wish someone had told me when I was 16 
that God's word was not written as all that depressing
He never meant for us to live in pain and misery 
He wanted us to find comfort in the shelter of His wing 
Our God is so great He's not just up in heaven
He walked here on earth and had human essence
He experienced suffering, not to tell us it gets better
but to show us its possible to live under pressure
His ways are not our ways, and it sounds like a cop out
a fake reason to ask people to throw all their doubts out 
but I believe in a God who was best friends with sorrow
He came to hurt with me to get me through to tomorrow 
so even if He never takes away my hurt
He says He'll be with me when I'm stuck in the dirt

so I ask again, how great is our God?
I answer it with "He's the greatest of all."
He is not up in heaven, counting days til His judgement 
He's with us on Earth, tending to the wounded
He is loving us, every breath that we take
even though all we do is push Him away 
I cant understand or dare comprehend 
how God continues to love us time and again
I wish I remembered the vastness of His plan
even when it involves my life slipping away like sand
Our God is so great that He allows pain
because at the end of our line is when we can finally say 

how great

how great

is our God

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Dear Faith O'Leary

   Today is going to be a great day. And here's why.

   You're in this amazing production of Coraline, and you've met some of the most fantastic people while doing it. You're remembering that you're in love with theatre. Opening day was yesterday and you killed it. You're really don't care what people think of you. You're brave and crazy enough to go on a stage with a fake mustache and sing in a terrible fake Russian accent. You're having the time of your life.

   You were the happiest you've been in months last night, and I don't want you to forget it.


   Listen Faith, you've come too far to only make it this far. There's so much more for you to do. Yeah life still sucks sometimes but there are so many things to be happy about. I don't want you to sit around feeling sorry for yourself anymore. There are so many bigger, more important things going on. There are people out there with real hurt and real problems. They need someone to help them. They need to see that it gets better. I need you to believe that for them, even if you don't believe it for yourself. Because you can't go around and tell people to push past their hurt and learn to be happy if you can't even do it yourself. You have to be more than just talk. It's so much easier to tell people to choose joy but it's something entirely different to live that out. I think you should though.

   I think you have it in you to choose to be joyful despite everything. Your circumstances are going to change. They're going to get worse and then they'll be okay and then they'll get worse all over again. Maybe at some point they'll be great. But my point is, if you let your situation dictate how you view life, you are going to be unsteady as long as you live. You've been that way for so long. Your emotions have been on a roller coaster because how you feel is purely based on what happened in your day. It's killing you. It's exhausting to be so happy one day and so sad the next. You can't live like that.

   There are a million and one reasons why today is going to be a great day.

   You have a day off of rehearsals and shows. The sun is out. You laughed so hard last night that your stomach hurt. One of your classes was cancelled so now you have some quiet time to relax and clear your head. You saw the best production of Sweeney Todd last night. You have been so blessed to get to know some amazing people at school. Think of all the people you said hi to today. You're graduating in the summer. You're going back to work at Wrigley Field. You're doing some paintings for your church. You're actually doing okay today.


   And listen, even if all that gets taken away, you're still going to be okay.

   Do you need me to say it again?

   Even if everything gets taken away, you're still going to be okay.

   Because life isn't about your circumstances or how you feel. There will always be reasons to be happy and joyful. I want you to appreciate all the wonderful things in your life that you were too blind to see. Open up your eyes. The world is so big and so beautiful. I'm writing this so that you'll learn to hold on even when you don't feel like it. Hold on to joy even when you're sad or stressed or anxious. Even at 2am when your brain won't shut off and you feel so overwhelmed. Choose joy. See beyond the moment. Don't let it trap you.

   Look how far you've made it. There were so many times you wanted to give up. There were a million different situations you never thought would get better. And yeah, some of those terrible things still impact your life, but they've never stopped you from living. Pain has never stopped you before. It's just a little hurt. It's not going to kill you. It's going to make you thrive.

   I know you're not where you want to be, but don't let that scare you. Let it inspire you. let it challenge you. Let it change you.

    You know that you are who you act like when you're under pressure. Pain reveals character. So who are you going to choose to be? Are you going to be the victim or the victorious? Because no one is going to choose it for you. The hardest part is though, no one would blame you for being the victim either. People will say its okay to be defeated, and maybe it is. But don't let rock bottom be the place you take up permanent residence at. You've been down long enough. It's time to get up. I know you; I know who you want to be. So go out and be that person.

   You got this.
   (It gets better, remember?)
      Sincerely,
          Me