On Broken Hallelujahs

I heard someone once define the word “hallelujah” as, commanding your soul to rejoice. Hallelujah is defined as: God be praised, an expression of worship or rejoicing. Rejoice is defined as: to feel or show great joy or delight. Command is defined as: to give an order, to tell someone to do something in a forceful way, with authority. Command is a strong word. Especially in the same sentence as rejoice and hallelujah.

Commanding your soul to rejoice. That thought, though. I can’t shake it. It’s real and it’s raw and it’s the exact opposite of the fluffy Christian mess I can’t stand. Because sometimes life throws you a serious curve ball. A curve ball that literally knocks the breath out of you and kicks you to your knees. A curve ball that makes you question everything about this God you proclaim to believe in. A curve ball that makes you feel alone and hurt and tricked and fooled by that very same God. A curve ball that makes you not even sure you want to believe in a God if this is how life is going to go down. Faith curve balls royally suck. The last thing on planet Earth you want to do is rejoice and praise and say “hallelujah.” The very last thing.

So I had to command myself to do it. I made myself praise God out loud for who He is. But I found that in the middle of the grief and the pain and the fog, I had forgotten. I had  forgotten who He says He is. It started as an assignment. Like, serious homework for the heart.  I made myself sit down and go through the ABC’s. The ABC’s of God and Jesus. Who are they? Why are they worthy of praise? For what reasons am I rejoicing in them? Why am I saying hallelujah? And then around the letter F I couldn’t stop. I took my Bible and my journal all the places and would sit and find new words and new scriptures. I read them with new eyes and a heart that was craving the truth.

And this is what I found: If I believe the Bible to be true, then I believe who it says God and Jesus are. And if I believe that to be true then at some point I have to stop questioning who they say they are and just accept it. Accept that Jesus is awesome and powerful and just and faithful and everlasting and sovereign and perfect. He was those things the day we said Yes to JT. He was those things the day I stood in Uganda listening to the words, “You can’t adopt him anymore.” He is those things today, seven months later. He will be those things the day we stand with our next child. He will be those things if we never stand with a child. He is all those things yesterday and today and forever. He is all those things in the broken and the beautiful and the messy. He is those things when we believe it easily and more importantly, he is those things when we forget.

So here’s my list. The ABC’s of God and Jesus. It’s somewhat overwhelming, in the best way possible.

Alive (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 28:5-6), Anchor (Hebrews 6:19), Awesome (Psalm 42: 2, Deuteronomy 7:21), All Knowing (Jeremiah 16:17, Proverbs 15:3, Matthew 10:30, Daniel 2:22), Almighty (Isaiah 6:3, Psalm 91:1, Psalm 93:4), Alpha (Revelation 1:8), Author (Hebrews 12:2, Acts 3:15), Advocate (1 John 2:1-2)

Bread of Life (John 6:35, Deuteronomy 8:3), Breath of Life (Genesis 2:7)

Creator (Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:27, Isaiah 42:5), Counselor (Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 73: 23-24), Compassionate (Psalm 103:8, Isaiah 49:13, James 5:11), Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:19-22, Psalms 118: 22-23, Mark 12:10, Acts 4:8-11)

Deliverer (Psalm 72:12, Psalm 18:2), Divine (Romans 1:20, 2 Peter 1:3-4), Delights (Zephaniah 3:17, Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Everlasting (Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 9:6), Eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27, 1 Timothy 1:17, Revelation 1:8), Exalted (2 Samuel 22:47, 1 Chronicles 29:11, Isaiah 33:5)

Father (Isaiah 9:6, Psalm 68 4-5), Faithful ( Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 33:4, Psalm 146:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Hebrews 10:23, 1 Peter 4:19), Forgiving (Psalm 86:5, Nehemiah 9:17, Colossians 3:13, Psalm 130:4)

Generous (Matthew 7:11, Malachi 3:10, 1 Timothy 6:17), Glorious (Isaiah 12:5, Acts 2:20, Titus 2:13), Great (Deuteronomy 10:17, Psalm 108:4, Psalm 145:3, 1 John 3:1), Good (Psalm 34:8, Psalm 86:5), Good Shepherd (John 10:11)

Holy (1 Peter 1:15-16, Isaiah 6:3, Psalm 30:4, Psalm 96:9), Healer (Isaiah 53:5, Luke 6:19, Psalm 30:2, Psalm 147:3), Helper (Psalm 46:1, Psalm 121: 1-2, Hebrews 13:6), Hope (Psalm 62:5, Job 13:15, Isaiah 40:31)

I AM (John 6:35, John 8:12, John 10:9, John 10:11, John 11:24-25, John 14:6, John 15:5)

Jealous (Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24), Just (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 111:7, 1 John 1:9, Psalm 11:7), Judge (Psalm 9:8, Acts 17:31)

King of Kings (Revelation 19:16, 1 Timothy 6:15), Knows Us (2 Timothy 2:19, Psalm 139:1)

Lamp (2 Samuel 22:29, Psalm 119:105, Revelation 21:23), Light (Psalm 27:1, John 8:12, 1 John 1:5), Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16, Revelation 17:14), Love (Jeremiah 33:11, Zephaniah 3:17, 1 John 4:8)

Merciful (Luke 6:36, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:4-6), Mighty (Psalm 50:1, Psalm 147:5, Zephaniah 3:17), Magnificent (Psalm 145:3, Psalm 96:4), Maker (Psalm 146:6, Genesis 1:1, Psalm 139: 13, Isaiah 42:5)

Never Failing (Psalm 136, Psalm 130:7), None Like You (Jeremiah 10:6, Psalm 86:8-10)

Omnipresent (Colossians 1:17, Jeremiah 23:24, Proverbs 15:3, Psalm 139:7-10), Omega (Revelation 22:13, Isaiah 44:6), Overcomer (John 16:33, 1 John 5:4)

Perfect (Matthew 5:48, Psalm 19:7, Deuteronomy 32:4), Praiseworthy (Exodus 15:2, Psalm 150:6, Deuteronomy 10:21, Psalm 34:1, Psalm 96:4, Psalm 118:28), Potter (Isaiah 64:8, Deuteronomy 18:6), Powerful (Psalm 147:5, Matthew 20:34, Luke 7:14-15, John 11:43-44, Exodus 14:21-22, Exodus 4, 17-11, 17, Daniel 6), Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)

Quiets My Soul (Psalm 32:2, Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 61:2, Psalm 119:32)

Refuge (Psalm 61:4, Psalm 27:5, Psalm 46:1), Righteous (Psalm 119:137, Psalm 48:10, Psalm 97:1, Psalm 145:17, Isaiah 41:10), Ruler (Deuteronomy 10:14, 1 Timothy 6:15), Rock (Psalm 78:35, Psalm 19:14, Psalm 61:2, Isaiah 26:4, Psalm 62:2), Restorer (2 Corinthians 5:17, Isaiah 66:9, Revelation 21:5), Redeemer (Job 19:25, Isaiah 43:1, Isaiah 62:12)

Savior (Isaiah 43:11-12, Psalm 118:14, Like 2:11, 1 John 4:14), Sovereign (Psalm 135:6, Luke 1:37, Job 42:2, Lamentations 5:19, Zechariah 14:9), Stronghold (Nahum 1:7, Psalm 9:9), Strength (Habakkuk 3:19, Psalm 46:1)

Truth (John 14:6, John 17:17, Psalm 119: 160), Teacher (John 13: 13-15, Psalm 25:4-5, Psalm 32:8)

Unchanging (Hebrews 13:8, Ecclesiastes 3:14, James 1:17)

Victorious (Psalm 20:7-8, 1 Samuel 17:45-46, Genesis 50:20, Revelation 12:9, John 12:31, Romans 14:11)

Worthy of Praise (Exodus 15:2, Deuteronomy 32:3, Revelation 5:12, 1 Peter 4:11, Psalm 5:11, Psalm 47: 6, Psalm 48:1, Philippians 4:4)

Someone tell me why X is a letter.

Yahweh (Revelation 1:8, Isaiah 41:4, Genesis 1:1, 1 Corinthians 8:6)

Zealous (Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy 4:24, Isaiah 42:8, Proverbs 23:17)

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2 comments

  1. This resonated deeply with me. Our circumstances, failures and experiences don’t change WHO God is. I’m reminded of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego who said, “Even if He doesn’t…” Even if He doesn’t save us…even if he doesn’t deliver us…we will not bow down.
    How different our lives would be if we could say, “even if He doesn’t.” Regardless of what does or doesn’t happen to me, He alone is worthy of my Hallelujah.
    Thank you for this reminder!

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