Have you ever felt bound up by sorrow, and longed to be released and set free?
Strength to Carry Us
I was leafing through the Bible right before going up to sing at the funeral for my niece's little two-year-old son a couple of weeks ago. Sensing a leading to share something ... praying for direction. Thankfully my niece and her husband know Jesus and are relying on His strength to carry them through this devastating sorrow. So many hearts in so much grief. Grateful to be able to be with such dear loved ones, having traveled many miles and put life on hold for a while, to be at the funeral.
Seeing family members and friends that live so far away, we rarely see each other. Happy to see them, but so SAD to see their hearts tangled up in tragedy. Wishing that I could simply unravel the grief somehow or turn back time for them.
My heart was drawn to the account of Jesus' own tears shed as His friends grieved the loss of His friend Lazarus. The story brought to mind a situation that had happened at a Loving Grace Ministries retreat earlier in the month as I was getting up to share a song.
All Tangled Up
At the funeral I borrowed a guitar that did not have a cable to plug it into a sound system. At the retreat, I had used my guitar, which I prepared beforehand, by plugging one end of the cable into the guitar, and neatly wrapping the rest of it and putting it with the guitar on its stand. As I got up to sing, the cable had wrapped itself around the guitar and I had to unwind it. While doing so, the image struck me as I said: "We can be all tangled up, Lord ... sometimes, we're all tangled up. Just loose the chains that bind the song in our heart."
Picture of the moment I untangled the guitar cable
So here I was, ready to sing at the funeral, relating that story, and sharing the scripture that had moved upon my heart:
"Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 'Take away the stone,' he said.
'But, Lord,' said Martha, the sister of the dead man, 'by this time there is a bad odor for he has been there four days.'
Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?'
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.'
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.' "
Funny, that's the translation I usually use. At the funeral, I had a small Bible with which I travel, and that translation puts the last verse this way: "The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Unbind him, and let him go.' "
It was that "unbind him" that reminded me of saying "We can be all tangled up ... sometimes, we're all tangled up. Just loose the chains that bind the song in our heart."
So I shared with my family and their friends that little story, and share it with you too...
Are you all bound up? Bound up with grief, sorrow, sin, regret, fear, distrust, self-reliance, bitterness, envy, shattered personal dreams, bad habits, childishness, selfishness (ouch! ... yes, I know; getting a little personal there, huh)? You know what confines your heart. You know what keeps you from freely singing the song He desires to put in your heart. And Jesus knows too.
Break the Chains
Interestingly enough, the song that I was about to share at the retreat that day just happened to contain a line that says that Jesus "breaks the chains that bind our hearts and hold us captive, to set our spirits free." I didn't even realize until I happened to listen back to a recording of the service a couple of days ago. (Listen to the recording below.)
Cords, or rather, CHORDS of Love
My prayer for my niece, nephew-in-law, all of our family members, friends, and YOU, is that Jesus will graciously break any unhealthy, life-hindering chains that are binding our hearts today, and set our spirits free ... to sing the song He yearns to place within our hearts.... If there be anything that binds us, let it be the chords of love that connect us to the very heart of Jesus Christ.
This is an excerpt from the following mp3 of the entire worship portion of the Sunday morning service at the recent LGM Worship in the Woods Retreat (June 2013), which can be found at the following link:
If this discussion has stirred up any questions for you, feel free to email me back (lisa @ shiningriver.com, leave out the spaces...), or if you'd like to know more about coming into a persoal relationship with Jesus Christ, feel free to visit the following URL: