Friday, November 1, 2013

The Glorious Unfolding

He's done it again, I thought, and shook my head and smiled, as I watched this little Kentucky guy on stage with a guitar play and sing with great power, as loud and strong as ever. Steven Curtis Chapman was back in town last weekend, and once again Pam and I went to see him... and took a few more friends with us this time - Mary, Hannah, Brie, and John. Call me an old-school nerd if you want, but when the concert started with the prelude to "The Great Adventure," I got goosebumps.

It's "The Glorious Unfolding" tour, promoting his newest - and 26th - album, and also featuring Laura Story and Jason Gray. One of my favorite things about this concert was that the artists told pieces of their stories that really brought out the depth and richness of their songs. They have all come through tremendous hardships and tragedies, and it was beautiful and powerful to see how God has helped them and blessed them and received so much glory from their lives. It made me wonder, and be in wonder of, why our weakness and pain is so often required for God's power and glory to shine.

If you haven't noticed before, music means a lot to me, and I think God uses music to speak to my heart when it is not ready or willing or able to listen to other things. Over the years, through different seasons and struggles, SCC's music has comforted and challenged me and helped me understand deeper the heart of God; as much as his songs have been mile-markers and stones of remembrance in his life, they have also been in mine. And that is just as true for his newest album. Needless to say, it was a pretty emotional evening for me.

I've been going through a difficult time lately, wrestling with changes around me that have caused some expectations and plans and dreams to get shaken and shifted and shattered, which is never easy or fun. So I am in a place where I need songs like "Nothing is Wasted," and "Remind Me Who I Am," by Jason Gray, and "Blessings" and "I Can Just Be Me" by Laura Story. And then Stevie introduced the title song of his new album, and the lyrics popped up on the screen behind him as he sang, and I felt like he had written it for me...

Stevie's always been an optimist, but his unwavering hope means so much more when you know the things God's brought him and his family through... his words aren't hollow or ignorant or carelessly chosen. He knows these things to be true because he's faced them, struggled with them, and found healing in them. So I know I can and will too. The story is so far from over, so hold on to every promise God has made to us... 

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