How He loves.

October 25, 2009

Junior year of college, the song Who Am I? by Casting Crowns brought tremendous comfort to me during an emotional time.  Lighthouse’s orchestra was practicing it to accompany Eugene and Christine during church service, and I remember just taking the CD and sheet music to UCSD’s “underground” piano rooms and playing for hours, crying and praying my way through the song … over and over again.  In just a few weeks, we’d play it for the church, and did I believe what I was playing?  Would I rend the garment and not my heart?  God was good to give that song, among other things, during that time.  Where plain words would have been hard, truth sung and played to me brought untold comfort.

This past weekend, that “song” for me has been How He Loves by John Mark McMillan.  From what I understand, McMillan wrote it after losing a dear friend.  On Friday, I lost a dear friend, Michael — “dear” in terms of the place he had in my heart (in all our hearts) as I watched him grow from a little boy to a man who dreamed of being a teacher like his dad.  And I’ve never been so tempted to call a death “untimely” before, but this one … this one seems so untimely.  And my imagination fails me to foresee how God could possibly bring good from this, but this I know: He is good.  And He loves.  Oh, how He loves.  And sometimes, that is all we can do as we grieve: weep in the arms of our good and sovereign Abba who loves us.

I was asked yesterday to play during the offertory today at the church where we grew up, so I went to the church last night and practiced this song, How He Loves, again and again and again.  Grief and hope and pain and praise all stumbling over one another, trying to walk in harmony.  This morning, after I played for first service, I walked to the back of the church and cried with JoAnna.  It is possible to grieve and sing His truth at the same time.  And perhaps again, where plain words would be hard, truth sung and played apply the balm in just the right way.

Some songs are mostly great because of the lyrics; others are mostly great because the music expresses a yearning that words can’t articulate.  I think this is one of those songs.

How He loves.

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane,
I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.

When all of a sudden I am unaware of these
Afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful You are and
How great Your affections are for me.

Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all.

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes.
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.

And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest.
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way…

Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all.

How He loves!
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

Please pray especially for Michael’s mom.  She’s now lost both husband and only child — and both so suddenly.  As our pastor asked us to pray today, please pray that God would heal the deep places of her heart as only He can.


6 Responses to “How He loves.”

  1. Cassie Says:

    That is a great one. How good is our God even in our grief and tribulation?!

  2. Dennis Says:

    I’m sorry I missed it… I have a hard time listening to McMillan’s version – mainly because he sings an additional verse/chorus about his friend at the very end:

    Verse 3:
    Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died,
    And You met me between my breaking.
    I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony.
    …They want to tell me You’re cruel,
    But if Stephen could sing, he’d say it’s not true, cause…

    Chorus 3:
    Cause He loves us,
    Whoa! how He loves us.
    Whoa! how He loves us.
    Whoa! how He loves.
    Yeah, He loves us,
    Whoa! how He loves us,
    Whoa! how He loves us,
    Whoa! how He loves.

    – – –

    Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

  3. letitia Says:

    Dennis, that last verse is so good…………I’m going to have to listen to his version from now on.

  4. Sofia Ahr Says:

    I don’t usually comment on blogs but had to on yours. You have a very easy to read writing style. A lot of people don’t have that touch, they just drone on and on in the most boring way. But not you – thanks! I really enjoy Bradley Hathaway’s poetry and it’s always nice to read from someone else who appreciates his work. I don’t have time to read all of the articles here right now, I found this site while I was looking for something else on myspace, but I’ve bookmarked your homepage and will check back soon to see the latest updates. Have you seen him in concert? I haven’t yet but pray I can see him live in concert. I’ve heard he’s really down-to-earth in person. Please visit my site at – I have a lot of stuff about Bradley as well as some things by SCC and Casting Crowns. Thanks again!

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