Yesterday in church we sang together.

We sang the words,

“you’re never going to let, you’re never going to let me down”.

The words caught in my throat and I fell silent.

I couldn’t sing the words even though I have found them to be true. He is never going to let me down. I couldn’t sing it even though I believe it, and feel it. I couldn’t sing it although the core of my being is at peace with this statement.

I looked around me and I saw my friends. I saw their grief and struggles, I saw their pain.

I saw loneliness and illness, financial uncertainty and conflict. I saw lives rocked and uprooted by life’s unexpected twists and turns.

And then I thought of my life. I thought of the loss, the people who died despite our prayers, the relationships that remained unresolved, the illness, the sadness.

And I thought of all the times when I couldn’t sing this song.

It is hard to be thankful sometimes. Sometimes, no matter how much we tell ourselves it is true, the truth feels like a cruel joke. Sometimes being around people who are singing these songs can be very alienating. It can be a lonely experience, and you can come away feeling condemned and weak.

I have stood in church while everyone around me was able to sing these words of faith. I have struggled not to find their declaration overbearing, even smug.

If you are feeling like I have felt, if life has left you feeling battered and bruised, it is okay not to sing.

God doesn’t require your praise. And he is not disappointed in you for not having the capacity to speak truth over yourself in this moment.

If you cannot sing these words, if these songs feel too hard I have a word for you. I even believe it could be God’s word to you. (yikes thats a bit full-on isn’t it?!).

This is what he expects of you:

nothing.

This is what he wants from you:

nothing.

Be free not to sing. Be free to sit. Be free to cry. Be free.

There are times when singing is too hard. It’s okay.

Yesterday in church I was standing behind a dear friend. He was holding his 5 year old son. His beautiful boy was diagnosed with Autism a couple of years ago. Life has not turned out how any of them expected. Life has been bumpy and complicated.

Life is hard. It is hard to be living on this earth a lot of the time. Things happen that we cannot control, all the time. Stories don’t end as we had hoped. We don’t see the resolution we long for. It is okay to say it is hard. It is okay not to be able to sing.

And this was God’s word to me, and to you. As my precious friend held his son. As his son surrendered to the love of his Father. As he rested his head on his Dad’s shoulder he looked at me as I stood behind him. And his eyes spoke to me.

It is okay not to be able to sing.

Instead, be held.

img_7329