I try to attend worship on Sundays in two different churches: one at 9:30 a.m., where I sing in the choir, and another at 11:00 a.m. I had been asked to sing at the second service. During my daily devotions, I read about living water. Suddenly, the words "Come to the water" popped into my head. Hmm, what is the name of that song? Using an online application, I was able to discover that the name of the song was "For those tears I died". I immediately called the church organist and asked if he had the music for this song. Later in the week, we practiced the song, but it has an irregular rhythm, and it is difficult to sing. After practicing, I did not feel well prepared. Normally, I would have chosen something else to sing, but I really felt strongly that God wanted me to sing this song. There had been many losses — deaths and ill health — in this church, and I just felt God pushing me to share this message with the congregation.
I arrived at church for the 9:30 a.m. service — uncharacteristically early. I asked the organist what the choir was singing, and he replied that he had not yet chosen anything. I asked if he had the music for "For those tears I died". He did, and was pleased that I had volunteered to sing it. Before I sang, I shared with the congregation that I might stumble with this song, as I was not as well prepared as usual to sing it, nor was I planning to sing it for this congregation. Nevertheless, I felt God urging me to share this song. I shared that whenever we are going through a difficult period of loss, we feel alone and cry out to God, "Where are you?" This song responds that the Lord is standing right beside us. As I regarded the congregation, I saw numerous Kleenexes dabbing at eyes.
This is the first verse and chorus:
- You said You'd come and share all my sorrows,
You said You'd be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!
And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied;
I felt ev'ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died."
– Marsha Stevens
After I finished singing, the guest minister stood up and said, "I continue to be amazed at how God works. If I had searched for the perfect song to accompany today's sermon, that would have been it. Over thirty years ago, that was the first Christian song that I learned. It brought a tear to my eyes then, and did so again today." He went on to preach an incredible sermon about those times when we are in pain, and we cry out, "Where are You, God?"
When we are tempted to think, "That was a happy coincidence," we need to remember that God's grace is constantly intervening in our lives.
Isaiah 55:8-9 – "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (NKJV)
Even in times when we are experiencing periods of illness, loss, and difficulty, and God seems distant, let us trust that He is right there beside us every step of the way.
Prayer: Lord of all life, it is easy to find Your hand in the large aspects of life. When we search, we can find You in the small activities of each day, sometimes providing answers to unspoken prayers. Thank You for all the times when You find us a parking spot when we are running late. Thank You for the times when we think, "I don't think I can face the busyness of this afternoon", and a commitment is rescheduled for another day. Thank You for Your whispers that urge us in Your direction. Thank You — to make up for all of the times when we have neglected to say thanks for Your intervention and guidance in the minutia of our daily lives. Amen.