I spent all weekend helping lead a youth retreat weekend. On Saturday afternoon we did a service project and gardened for a few elderly church members. Upon returning to the church, we each took some quiet time to reflect and pray. As that kind of wrapped up, people seemed to be gathering in the grass on the hill and it became a spontaneous worship song session. One of the songs we sang was "Blessed Be Your Name." As we went through the familiar verses and chorus, I pondered how many times I'd sung that song. On campus, in church, in my car, in Spanish in Guatemala, in ASL, with 35,000 teens, by myself, with a small group around a campfire... the list goes on and on. Every summer for almost the last ten years my family has gone to an outdoor Christian music festival. In the last few years, it seems every artist sings "Blessed Be Your Name." I've sung with the hot July sun beating down on me. I've sung it as refreshing night rain pelts my face. I've sung it a lot. You'd think I'd know the verses in the right order...
On May 21, 2008, singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter died tragically at age 5 after being accidently hit by a car in the family's driveway. On July 11 of the same year SCC returned to the stage for the first time since the accident and earned a standing ovation prior to playing a note. He softly explained after such a tragedy there was one song that kept running through his head and he began to sing "Blessed Be Your Name." I highly doubt there was a dry eye in the entire audience. With heavy hearts and sore feet we extended our arms to the heavens and worshipped our precious Holy Father while He painted us a beautiful sunset in the Midwestern sky. The lyrics took on a whole new meaning as we proclaimed, "Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me. When the world's all as it should be, blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name." If a hurting father could say it, so can we. If the responsible brother could say it, so can we. If the sunburned, mud-laden audience can say it, so can we. Right?
It doesn't mean your pain is gone. It doesn't mean you need to be happy-go-lucky. It means God is still God. It means you'll praise Him in the hard times in addition to the easy times. In the United States, in foreign countries. In the sun and in the rain. From the top of the mountain and the bottom of the valley. As yourself honestly, no matter what you're going through today, are you willing to say, "Blessed be Your name"?