For the most part I am grateful for so much of the music that has come out in the last couple decades. I know that a desire to worship God fully & wholeheartedly is at the core of these songs.
But, every now and then, there is a song where I question the songwriter's choice of words. As someone who enjoys writing, words are incredibly important to me. Words carry so much meaning, and yet I know we can also feel limited by words to fully express what we want to say.
And, I think that is the case in some of these songs that I question. We are limited by our human tongues to adequately express concepts about God that are so mysterious, so incredible, so soul shaking. Songwriters, just as any writer, have to choose a word that partially describes the indescribable.
So, I totally get that. I do. But, I also sometimes wish the songwriters would use a bit more caution in the words they choose. Because sometimes the words or phrases they end up using could have negative connotations for many of us. I could even argue that sometimes they are not biblical. But, I will leave that for the theologians.
Such is the case for me in the song, "You're the One That Really Matters". As a whole, I like this song. (I do get tired of repeating the same line over and over, but that's another topic for a different post) But there is a line in this song that I cannot sing. And, I try really hard not to let it bother me, to accept that the songwriter's choice here just doesn't resonate with me. But, it's more than just not being able to relate to the line, it's that I'm disturbed by the line.
That line is "Chaotic love has messed me up again." Taken out of context, one might assume that the author is talking about a destructive, unhealthy worldly 'love' here. But, it's not. This line is attempting to describe God's love.
(Correction/ Addendum: After reading over my post a couple times, I realized I did not quote the line in its entirety. For the sake of fairness, the full line should read "Chaotic love has messed me up so I can live again.")
As someone who has a past of extremely destructive, unhealthy, chaotic relationships, this line does indeed have a negative connotation for me. I lived many years chasing after 'love' that messed me up and left me broken and ashamed. I lived many years where the 'love' I pursued created chaos in my heart, my mind, and my soul.
So, this is the last possible way I would choose to describe God's love. God has brought order to my chaos, healing to my messed up places.
I would describe God's love as unfathomable, fierce, powerful, life altering, but I wouldn't describe it as chaotic.
Yes, God does often call us out of our comfort zones. God does often take us places that require personal sacrifice. God's plans for our lives are often so different than our own. But there is always a beautiful, ultimate plan of order and peace behind it all.
God takes our shattered pieces - our messed up thoughts & atititudes - and He sets them right. He redeems. He restores. He brings order to the chaos. He is the One who calms the storm.
As we were singing this song on Sunday, I felt like there might be others who struggled in the same way with this line. I thought about going to the front during worship & sharing my reflections on that line as an encouragement to those who are so desperate for peace & order. I decided against doing that. So, I wrote this post instead.
If you are feeling caught in chaos & disorder, I will leave you with God's Word.....
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33