My thoughts and reflections on my Catholic Faith, Fulton Sheen, the problem of suffering, and books

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Song Review: "Thy Will," by Hillary Scott

A few weeks ago, I heard a song on the radio. It was one of those times where I had the radio on as background music while I did chores, so I wasn't paying much attention to the lyrics. Then some of the words did catch my ear, and I stopped what I was doing to really listen. I closed my eyes as the words sunk into my heart.


 The song became a prayer.

I'm so confused
I know I heard You loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here

These first lines can ring true for so many of us: we're confused. And this isn't confusion about the big things such as why there's evil in the world; this is personal, intimate confusion, the kind that we voice only to the Good Lord or to close friends.

We thought we heard God telling us to do this; so we did it. Except...we didn't end up where we thought we would. We're confused, we're lost, we're hurting.

I don't wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of Your plan

We don't want to think too much about the situation, because we'll drive ourselves batty, or we'll end up frustrated and upset and in tears. The more people tell us, "Hang in there, God has a plan!" the more we want to scream: "But this situation/problem/ circumstance/whatever hurts...how can this hurt, this pain, this frustration, be the plan of an all-good, all-loving God?  My heart is breaking; how is that Your plan, Lord?!"

And it's important to note that this song is a prayer; Hillary Scott is not talking about God; she's talking to Him. Sheen explains the difference in his poem "Complain" in Our Grounds for Hope: Enduring Words of Comfort and Assurance:

God does not frown on your complaint.
Did not His Mother in the Temple ask:
“Son! Why hast thou done so to us?”
And did not Christ on the Cross complain:
“My God! Why hast Thou abandoned Me?”
If the Son asked the Father,
And the Mother the Son – “Why?”
Why should not you?

But let your wails be to God,
And not to man,
Asking not, “Why does God do this to me?”
But: “Why, O God, dost Thou treat me so?”
Talk not about God, as Satan did to Eve:
“Why did God command you?”
But talk to God, as Christ to His Father.
(Emphasis added)

The song continues; we pray...or we try to pray...but all that we can find to say, the only words that come to mind, even if we're muttering them through gritted teeth, are the prayer of Our Lord in the Garden:

When I try to pray
All I've got is hurt and these four words
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

We recognize the goodness and omniscience of God; but because we're human and because our little finite minds can't see things as the infinite God does, we don't see how the goodness of God is manifest in this situation.

I know You're good
But this don't feel good right now
And I know You think
Of things I could never think about

As it says in Isaias 55:8-9:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. [9] For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.
We struggle to follow James' admonition to "count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations; Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience. And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing" (Jam. 1:2-4). The noise and the pain and the tears distract us from seeing the joy and seeing how God is keeping His promise to never abandon us (cf. Deut. 31:6):

It's hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all Your promises

What we need to remember during these times is that we're not God, we don't see the whole picture. He does; He knows where we'll be in twenty years and how we're going to get there. (Sometimes I'd like to know that ahead of time...or maybe not!)

Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that You're God
And I am not
So

When we return to the refrain, there is a new line: "Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is." From our earliest childhood, we learned to pray "Thy Will be done" in the Our Father; we learned it in the Bible story of Our Blessed Lord's Agony in the Garden. The "like a child" does not only refer to our childhood prayers, but to the childlike trust that we have to have in God to truly pray the words "Thy Will be done":

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

The song continues with an act of faith and trust: we know that God sees our heartbreak, that He hears our plea...and that because He is all-good and all-merciful and all-loving, He wants to heal our broken hearts, answer our pleas, and dry our tears, whether in this life or in the next:

I know You see me
I know You hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness You have in store
I know You hear me
I know You see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness You have in store

The song concludes with the refrain, the line about childlike faith, and a final act of faith:

So, Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know You see me
I know You hear me, Lord


Lyrics from Metrolyrics.com

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