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What have I done to deserve love like this?


Music and writing. Those are the two things that minister to me most when I'm processing hard things. My private worship is a special part of my faith.

I grew up in a musical home. My dad played the violin, mom sang and played piano, and my sister and I were always singing. One of my dad's go-to stories about my childhood involves me playing with my Barbies and listening to Classical records at the same time, living in my own little world. 

Music has played an important part in deepening my love for Christ, helping me understand and express my faith in ways I'm not prone to apart from it. I find this to be true in the counseling room sometimes as well. When a client is experiencing profound emotional distress, there is great benefit in the "therapy of music." Reading and meditating on the psalms is a recurring theme in many appointments. 

The past ten days or so I've found my soul unsettled. It seems to happen a couple of times each year. Sometimes provoked by relational disappointments. Other times, it's fed by the hard things I hear in the counseling room -- broken marriages, distressing abuses, chronic pain. And then I face the remaining darkness and doubt that plagues my own heart. 

I'm a weak person in many ways. When I enter a season where these weaknesses are magnified and the painful (but necessary) work of pruning is in full swing, I start to see just how many lies I believe about God and about myself. It always boils down to my own disbelief that God loves me, and that he's merely tolerating me.

I've been reading this book, and there have been several "a-ha" moments. One came after reading this statement: Feeling is a complicated process rooted in the slow time of relationship, and repairing emotions is not usually a quick fix. Intellectual knowledge of good theology isn't a magic wand [boy, I thought it was for so long!], and repairing a sense of rejection can be particularly hard. When we harbor the insidious belief that we don't please the God who has promised to love us, when we don't feel as if God wants us, regardless of any truths we have memorized, everything trembles.

Each time God has brought me into a season of reflection, he's been faithfully showing me another crevice of my heart that doesn't believe he loves me. Or, that he doesn't love me as much as _____________. Or, that if I would simply do ____________, he would love me more.

In these moments, I find myself turning to music for comfort. And, even for clarity. Last week, I started listening to Lauren Daigle's new album, Look Up Child. It has been the perfect pairing with the book I mentioned above. Every song has a carefully nuanced message about how we've misunderstood, misapplied or overlooked God's love for us. The clamoring voices of religion have drowned out the whispers of his love. He's wooing us, singing over us, calling us into sweet communion with him. 

I can't possibly pick a favorite from the alubm, but one song has connected well with the current state of my heart and mind.

When I am a wasteland
You are the water
When I am the winter
You are the fire
That burns

When I am a long night
You are the sunrise
When I am a desert
You are the river that turns
To find me

What have I done to deserve love like this?
What have I done to deserve love like this?

Your voice like a whisper
Breaking the silence
You say there's a treasure
You look 'til You find it
You search to find me

What have I done to deserve love like this?
What have I done to deserve love like this?
I cannot earn what You so freely give
What have I done to deserve love like this?

What have done to deserve a love like this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I've simply been me. And what is required for me to keep this love? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because it has all been provided in Christ's death on the cross over two thousand years ago. He purchased that love for me, and there's nothing that can change it, and there's nothing about me or in me that causes it to diminish. 

"Look inward and find no comfort, no consolation, only a familiar loneliness. Look outward and upward to the One of measureless grace who loved us before the ages began, who loves us now in all our faults and failures, who will love us tomorrow still." -- Katharina von Bora (wife of the great Reformer, Martin Luther)