This is a bad dream…it has to be a dream!
Wake up! Stupid brain!
What are the words?!
How does the melody go!
Folks, it wasn’t a dream. It was an ever loving nightmare, and I was living the nightmare. I was not asleep. Sadly. I was standing on stage with my lovely wife in our lovely church with our lovely congregation looking on at the unlovely horror that was unfolding before their eyes.
“Help him, Jesus.”
That’s when you know it’s bad. That’s what I heard from the congregation. ‘Help him, Jesus.’ If you’re speaking or singing in church and you hear, ‘Help him/her, Jesus,’ it’s not going well.
Panic. This is the only time I can remember that I’ve panicked onstage. Folks, I was in theater. I know how to fake like I’m not nervous on stage. I’ve played music and done plays for audiences of hundreds of folks. I once sang right after a lady had a heart attack and nearly died in church on a Sunday morning. True story: CPR, ambulances, paramedics. That lady was dead, and then we heard she wasn’t, funny enough. Anyway, that was nothing. I was not nervous. I was panic stricken, strumming my guitar and staring with ‘something is horribly wrong’ eyes at my wife, or at anyone who would dare look at me.
Have you ever heard something so awful that it gave you the ‘this smells like a skunk that was run over by a truck made out of feces’ face? The sound coming out of our PA system was the sonic equivalent to skunk hit by a truck made of poo, and it was all my fault.
CAPO on IV.
That was the very first thing written on my music. And I’m the one who wrote it! For the non-guitar strummers out there in internet land, a capo helps a guitarist change the key he or she is playing in. Playing the E chord shape with a capo on the 4th fret turns E into Ab. This song was supposed to be played 4 notes higher than I was currently playing it.
If you can imagine such an abomination, it was the praise and worship equivalent of singing Happy Birthday to the tune of Guns N Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle. It was bad. It wasn’t working. I couldn’t figure out what the melody should be (I was leading the song) and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t figure it out. Horrible.
What did I do in the face of such horrific sonic abhorrence? I kept going. True story. Wiser men may have abandoned ship. I was committed. Halfway through the song I happened to see my note at the top of the music. That made it worse. Now I knew what was wrong. What was wrong, was me. My wife was looking at me with a ‘Is he having a stroke? What is happening?’ look on her face. I’ve seen that face before, unfortunately. This is my life.
The song was never going to go well. The key was wrong; the melody was wrong. Everything about it was wrong.
Matthew 15:26- Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
Hang with me. In Matthew 15:21-28, we see a lady in a similar situation. Everything going on with her in this story is wrong. In that culture, women were regarded as lower in class and standing than men. That’s a strike against her. She was a gentile. She was coming to a Rabbi and she wasn’t even a Jew. Another strike. Topping that off, she was coming on behalf of her daughter (again, not a male). Strike three, folks.
Just as a side note: Where’s her husband for crying out loud? Dudes, where are you at on Sunday and Wednesday? There’s more I want to say on that topic, but I digress. She was singing Happy Birthday to the tune of Welcome to the Jungle. And at first, she got the same skunk/elephant poo reaction that I did. But her story doesn’t end there.
In the face of an impossible situation, there are at least three things we can learn from her and apply to our own lives:
- When faced with a John Wick level impossible task, she worshiped and confessed her need for Jesus.
- v25: But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
- Worship gets God’s attention.
- Confessing our need for Jesus gets His attention.
- She fought for something worth fighting for.
- v27: She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs…”
- She wasn’t deterred by silence. She wasn’t deterred by failure. She pressed on.
- Fight for what’s worth fighting for, especially your children and your lost family.
- She spoke words of faith.
- v27: “…even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
- When faced with the impossible, she spoke of God’s ability and His goodness.
- With God, all things are possible.
You may be in the midst of a ‘skunk run over by a truck made out of poo’ situation. If not, sorry to be a Debbie downer, but that day will come. I hope it doesn’t happen on a stage in front of a couple dozen people.
Either way, there’s a way to fail forward, or fail the right way.
Worship. He’s always worthy of praise based purely on who He is. Our situation doesn’t impact His worthiness.
Confess your need. You need Him- I know it. You know it. He knows it. There’s no honor in fighting on your own when there’s an army waiting to help you.
Keep fighting for things worth fighting for (people’s souls, your family, but probably not a single thing on social media hint hint, wink wink).
And don’t forget that our God is able and our God is good.