Yesterday some older song lyrics came to mind, one describing the human despair that happens in the dark times of life and how hopeless everything seems, the other about how hope can be restored by the Lord despite all the tragedies of life.
The first song I thought of was Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again Naturally". See link below for lyrics:
O'Sullivan writes lyrics about life's common tragedies: being left at the altar, the death of a father and the remaining spouse's despair, the desolation that comes with being left alone over and over again in our earthly life. The lyrics refer to the singer's giving himself over to doubt in the existence of God since life seems to be an ongoing sequence of heartbreak. The song is realistic, filled with the type of angst we all encounter in life and the temptation to either blame an invisible God or else use our personal circumstances as evidence that there is no God at all. I can well relate to the feelings and the anguish expressed in this song because I am a human being and therefore not insulated from the reality of human experience.
On the other hand we have the upbeat and bouncy delight of Keith Green's "You Put This Love In My Heart". See link below for lyrics:
Green's lyrics show the singer to be no stranger to life's problems and the feelings of loneliness that tempt us all. However he acknowledges that it is his relationship with God that leaves him feeling that he is definitely not alone in the world, no matter what human circumstances he finds himself in. He admits he has suffered feelings of loneliness and depression but has allowed God to take those feelings from him and replace them with a knowledge that he is never truly alone. While on the surface the lyrics, coupled with the lively music, may not seem to have the depth of feeling O'Sullivan's lyrics have, they are actually rather profound. I realized after hearing it a couple of times in a row that I couldn't dismiss it as a frivolous song.
Keith Green's song reminds me of the forgiveness that God extends to his now less than perfect human creation, but O'Sullivan's song reminds me that in order to fully appreciate our forgiven state in God's Kingdom we also have to extend forgiveness to God for all the bad things that he has allowed to happen in our lives.
Forgiveness is a two way street if it is to be truly effective in its outworking. God forgives us for falling short of his perfection and we forgive God for allowing sin to enter the world in the first place, the results of which touch us all at different times in our lives. God forgives us for giving in sometimes to our human emotions and their often negative out workings and we forgive God for letting us experience human pain in specific incidents of life.
Two different songs, two different outlooks on life. Both lyricists have me thinking a lot about life these days and about my responses to the inevitable disasters that befall us as humans.