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Better than a Hallelujah

Martin Luther King, Jr. describes faith as, "taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." I'd have to say there have been times in the lives of some of my friends when they are taking HUGE steps and definitely not being able to see the entire staircase as of yet. Sure, it will be revealed as you take one step and then another, but at first, we don't know the entire "climb", nor do we know the destination it will take us. That is why it is called faith - the direction isn't always obvious, and the destination isn't yet fully appreciated!

I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.  (Psalm 119:147 VOICE)

We can so caught up in looking for new doors to open that we totally miss the point that we haven't really arrived at the place the door has been prepared yet! Yes, we need to be looking for the door, but there might just be a little bit of a climb before we get there! My hairdresser is amazed at my ease at which I tell her to just make me look "good". She always asks how much to cut off, but I always tell her to leave it generally the same length, but trim away until it falls nicely. I remind her that I trust her because the work of cutting hair to make it look good is her business - not mine!


I wouldn't presume to tell her how to make my hair fall into the appropriate mixture of layers so as to fit the curve of my head and frame my face. She has that knowledge - I just put myself in her chair and let her go. Why? She has the years of experience that can run her hands through your hair and see how it will fall just by what she feels. What I have years of experience with is people giving me bad haircuts that don't conform to my head because I was too impatient to wait for an appointment with someone who actually manages this business of hair cutting quite well!

So many times, we jump ahead of God because we are too impatient to take however many steps are required on that staircase. It isn't that we don't know he can do a great job delivering us safely to our destination, or even that he has proven to provide some pretty tremendous things for us once we are there. It is that we get too impatient with the process of getting there! Yet, probably much of what we "gain" is found not so much in the destination, but in what we encounter getting there!

I think there have been times when I just didn't feel like going on any longer - like the climb was too hard. I wanted the quick fix - but it rarely turned out to be the best. It isn't fear that made me settle for the quick fix - it was my expectations. You see, we all set certain expectations as to how God should work, especially when we are hurting. We want the hurt to end, but we don't think God knows that.

We might not even speak about it with him - because we somehow believe "hurting" reveals some kind of weakness. If you have ever heard that song, "Better than a Hallelujah", you know that God isn't concerned with out "worship" always being "hallelujahs" - sometimes it is just expressing the honest hurt bottled up in our hearts for way too long. As the chorus says, "We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are. The honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a Hallelujah."

Today may be the first step on a staircase not yet fully revealed. Our hearts may be hurting beyond what we have ever wanted to admit, but in just pouring out of miseries, God hears what becomes a melody in his ears. It is that honest sharing of our heart that helps him show us how to put one foot in front of the other until we are climbing that staircase. We may not find the door after the first "flight", but each "bend" we round on that climb, the closer we are to where it is he wants to bring us! Just sayin!

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