Songs in the Night

We have finally finished the services for Dad this last weekend. We made a trip to his headstone, in what I considered the processional that couldn’t follow the funeral. But now, nearly five months later, we are through it.

I hadn’t expected it to be so hard. I didn’t think much of it, but it brought back all the pain of his death to the front of my mind. It hurts, and it’s always going to hurt, but I know that life will go on. Dad wouldn’t want me to stand at his grave forever and just cry. That’s necessary, but it can’t last forever.

But this evening, as I sat alone at my desk, just listening to some music, I felt like I had reached a breaking point. I know that I’m not doing as well as I’d like. I also know that I’m not doing as well today as I was yesterday. And admittedly, I know that despite all my knowing better, I’ve leaned very little on God. Truth be told, I’ve been kind of pissed at Him, and He knows it. I’ve tried to hide it, but it’s become obvious to those closest to me, and more than obvious to Him. As it turns out, you can’t really keep secrets from someone who knows everything, all the way down to the deepest secrets that you never let out.

So I just kind of let it out. If you dare call it praying, I just kind of stopped and said “God… I suck.” That was about the best I could do. Not very spiritual, I know. But He honored it, and reminded me that no matter how much I think that I suck, He’s got a higher opinion. And so the prayer went on. It was ugly, but it did the trick. I communicated with God, and Him with me.

I’ll admit it. I do suck. As far as this whole Christian thing goes, the only evidence of it in my life is my bookshelf. I did read my Bible today, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I had done that. Clearly, it had been too long.

But I’m moving forward with God, too. No matter how ugly I am (inside or out), His love for me transcends all of that. I can be as ugly as sin, and His love is consistent. That’s not to say that I won’t have to deal with who I’ve become, but if I will yield to Him, my problems become His problems, and then His solutions are at my disposal. That’s a pretty good arrangement.

Anyway, to the hymn. I was thinking of changing the cover photo for the blog into a snapshot of sheet music, but I couldn’t get it right, so I just left the song book open on my couch. When I went to pick it up this evening, I just so happened to be open to this one. It nailed me right between the eyes.

It was written by Nellie A. Montgomery in 1900, and like so many others, the message is beautiful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

The darkness has struck.
I’m encompassed all around.
Day or night? I can’t even tell.
Not that it matters.
If this is it, just let me die.

Yet in my despair, I cry out to God.
Something pathetic, just a word,
But with divine direction,
It strikes His ear, His heart,
And through the darkness,
To spite death itself,
God sings.

Even a bar, a simple measure
From Him is enough.
I can hear it, I can hold it, and
Know that I am loved.
All I feel is pain,
All I feel is misery,
All I feel is death,
Yet I know, somehow,
There is more than this.

His melody is simple enough:
Something to catch in my heart.
And the chorus, just the same,
“You are Mine, and I love you.”
With this alone, I can stand it all.
I can face all the furies of hell,
Knowing that He is on my side.

You can read the original here.


  1. Colleen

    Ryan, no matter how “Godly” or “spiritually mature” someone is supposed to be they would be lying if they said they didn’t go through similar things that you are right now. Many times I feel like I am just hanging on by my fingernails. We push the pain down and it will always come back up and we just have to try to hang on moment by moment and hold to the absolute knowledge that He knows, understands and cares so much and focusing on that I believe we will come out the other end and stronger for it. I love you much and wish I could take this pain away, but know I can’t, but I can love on you every chance I get.

  2. Tom Bewick

    Ryan, just found your blog after buying a jawbone book, this really struck a chord. Lost my mother 2 years ago and I know the feeling. I loved the line in the hymn, ” God sings”, reminds me of the line “He will exult over you” in “The Lord your God is in your midst”. My dear friend and Pastor, who went to be with the Lord a few years ago, explained to us years ago the word exult means the Lord is rejoicing over US as we worship Him! A profound thought that He is there for us all the time, even when we don’t realize it. Tom

    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Hey, thanks Tom. I often struggle tying this to Jawbone, but comments like this make it seem okay after all.

      Too often, I know I forget how close God always is. His love is too much for me to bear, but since He’s carrying me, He can carry the love, too. If only I could learn to trust and obey more completely…


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