Gift #1026: Answers

Earlier this week I heard a song I had not heard before – “Who will Answer” by Ed Ames.  I’m not sure when it was written, probably sometime in the 60s, by the tone of the song.  Here are some of the lyrics.

From the canyons of the mind
We wander on and stumble blindly
Through the often tangled maze
Of starless nights and sunless days
While asking for some kind of clue
Or road to lead us to the truth
But who will answer?

On a strange and distant hill
A young man’s lying very still
His arms will never hold his child
Because a bullet running wild
Has struck him down and now we cry
“Dear God, oh, why, oh, why?”
But who will answer?

If the soul is darkened
By a fear it cannot name
If the mind is baffled
When the rules don’t fit the game
Who will answer?

Is our hope in walnut shells
Worn ’round the neck with temple bells
Or deep within some cloistered walls
Where hooded figures pray in halls?
Or crumbled books on dusty shelves
Or in our stars, or in ourselves
Who will answer?

I was listening raptly waiting for the answer that the lyrist would give.  But then the song ended and there was no answers, just the lingering question and echoes of Hallelujah from the chorus.  It struck me on two levels – one I was amazed by how pertinent the song was for our time.  All the verses (I didn’t include all of them above) were scenes that we hear daily.  Scenes of hoplessness and despair.  And that’s the other take away – it was such a depressing song, a cry of loneliness and abandonment in an impassive world.

It left me feeling fatalistic and upset, until I remembered that we have an answer – it just wasn’t sung in this song.  But a Voice, the first our universe heard, has already spoken into our world, our existence, our lives, our mess, our sorrow.  He has become one of us, faced all the situations this song describes, and has breathed His hope and presence into the brokenness.  Listen to His answer to our heartcry.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
because you are precious to me.
    You are honored, and I love you.

 Do not be afraid, for I am with you  Is 43:1-5

These are my favorite verses in the Bible, and my pastor read them to us last Sunday at the start of our service.  Completely unrelatedly, I also read them that night (I’m reading through the Bible chronologically and was at Is 43).  Consequently I’ve been thinking on these verses throughout the week and rejoicing in God’s compassion and care of us.  His answer to all our questions is “I’m with you and I love you.”  I hope His words will comfort and bless you in this coming week.
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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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