Broken Hallelujah

Sometimes, you can be at absolute rock bottom. Everything is mounting up against you  and one thing piles on top of another. Trouble after trouble, affliction after affliction, and there seems to be no end to it in sight.

You’ve likely been told at some point in your Christian walk that the way to drag yourself up by your bootlaces, as it were, is to ‘praise the Lord’ and everything will be OK. You’ll feel better soon.

But of course this isn’t what happens, because the circumstances are still there. You’ve declared your victory over the problems in Jesus’s Name, but still the problems are there. You pray for the Kingdom power that you have been granted; you pray for it to apply in your situation and bring the breakthrough that is so sorely needed. And still the troubles keep piling up and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, not even an oncoming express train.

Can I say this with all sensitivity – because I too am in that dark tunnel as I write this – the ‘valley of the shadow of death’, as the Psalmist describes it – but actually praising God and declaring your trust in Him really is the way forward. You might not feel any different, but you are still consciously bringing Him into the equation. You are making the conscious decision to declare Him as Lord, no matter how you feel.

And, for some reason, this type of praise is so precious to God. He is right there with you in your suffering, and He delights in hearing your trust being expressed. Years ago, one Saturday morning, Fiona and I had to make the heartbreaking trip to the vet’s to have our precious German Shepherd dog, Jasper, put to sleep. The next morning, I was due to lead the main worship meeting at Church, from the front, and everyone would be looking to me for the lead. I decided that I would go for it. That worship time, from the midst of my grief, was one of the most precious I have ever led. God’s Presence was right there, for us and for our congregation.

I don’t know how that worked. I don’t know why that worked. And I don’t know why these horrible things happen to people despite God being Good, all the time.

But let’s just acknowledge this: In the raw suffering, where every step is pain, God is there. He knows what it feels like. He can empathise with you, because He’s been there before. He will continue to be your Rock, even when it seems like your feet are sinking in the waters of the oceans of despair.

Here’s a beautiful song by Mandisa, called ‘Broken Hallelujah’ which expresses this perfectly. If you’re in a dark place today, join with me and Mandisa in expressing your trust by letting Him have your ‘Hallelujah’ – the Hebrew word for ‘Praise the Lord’ – no matter how broken it might be.

And, somehow, this brings God’s power into your situation. I don’t know how He does it, but He does. You might not feel any different. But the power of praise is not to be underestimated, and at the very least it will take your eyes off the circumstances and lift them to Him, even for a short while, and give you maybe a better perspective on how He’s still in charge – because, make no mistake – He is still in charge. And, in the past, He’s always come up with the best possible solutions at the best possible time – and He’s not going to change now.

And I’m going to continue to give Him my broken hallelujahs. Because they are the best I’ve got.

With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more
Yet I trust in this moment You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful so Lord even now

When all that I can sing is a broken Hallelujah
When my only offering is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ruins
And I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise is a broken Hallelujah

Oh Father, You have given
much more than I deserve
And I have felt Your hand of blessing
on me at every turn
How could I doubt Your goodness,
Your wisdom, Your grace
Oh Lord hear my heart in this painful place

When all that I can sing is a broken Hallelujah
When my only offering is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ruins
And I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise is a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I lift my voice
Your spirit moves
I raise my hands
I reach for You

‘Cause all that I can sing is a broken Hallelujah
And my only offering is shattered praise
Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ruins
And I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise is a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah

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