When Your Soul Cries Out, God Responds

“Because of God’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” – Lamentations 3:22

I wonder if my life matters. And the refrain from every friend in my life is, “Of course it matters.”

I know that too.

But you know, us humans, we need more. We need measurement, proof, and evidence that we’re not frauds and that we’re worth more than just the collection of dust particles that we’re made up of. We need to KNOW that we’re doing the thing. We need to feel and see and sense moments of impact.

These past few days were unexpected for me. I didn’t even know that I was asking this question. But deep underneath the busyness and goodness of all of the activity, my soul was wondering, What is this all for? What am I actually doing here? Am I making a difference?

And I’ve learned that when our souls cry out, God hears us and responds, even if we’re not aware of what we’re asking for. It’s a weird thing, right? That our soul can be in such close communion with God that my conscious self can all of a sudden find itself in the midst of His response to something that I didn’t even know I needed to hear.

And it surprises me and fills me in the deepest ways. But it shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s just like the goodness of God to answer even the tiny, unconscious longings of my weary soul. He’s that good.

It reminds me that He’s eagerly waiting for me to just ask. To just reach out. To just tell God what I need to remember His love.

A friend of mine has been going through it for a while now. He’s been achieving himself into just getting by. He’s been pushing, and traveling, and doing, and burning the candle at both ends, and all of the spinning plates, when they’re stacked up at the end of the day, are a less impressive pile that he feels like his effort deserves.

We met a year ago, and the first thing that welled up in me to ask him was, “What if God is bigger and better and wants to do so much more good to you and through you than you can imagine right now? Than what we’re currently living in or giving space for in this reality?”

And he wept. Because it was the thing that he knew was true but was too afraid to say.

And we’ve walked this road together these past months. Through valleys and plateaus and mountaintops. Through gains and losses, through joy and sorrow. And we’ve spoken truth to one another and provided support in the many ways that humans can contribute to one another’s work.

And then I’m sitting in a symphony hall in Nashville on Wednesday and I turn around to see every seat full. To see 1,400 people crammed into that lovely space all because my friend didn’t give up on his vision for a creative community that could change the world. Because he refused to let go of the Lord until he saw the promise—this moment—the day when a robust community of makers and innovators and dreamers were wooed by the vision of wanting to do more together and build the broken world back up again together.

And I look down and see a text from my friend saying, “THANK YOU.”

And I wept.

There it is—the moment of impact.

The most beautiful thing about impact is that it has nothing to do with me. I simply spoke the love and goodness of God into my friend’s life, day after day, month after month. The spirit did the rest. He grew those seeds and changed his heart and reimagined his expectations of abundance and brought forth the vision.

I wonder why in that beautiful passage in Lamentations, the Lord chooses to use two different words for his goodness. He says, “Because of my great love … my compassions.” Why not just say “Because of my great love, my love doesn’t fail.” It seems true, so why choose a different word?

“Compassions” as it’s referenced in Lamentations is the same word used in Zephaniah 3:5 where God promises “morning by morning I dispense my justice.” But justice and compassion? They seem incompatible, right? One is merciful and kind, the other wrought with judgment.

And yet the Greeks used this word differently. For them, justice didn’t mean judgment. It meant righteousness, and more specifically, “the sacred way.”

The Sacred Way: The path that is kept and held and ordered by the divine.

When I read that, these last few days fell into perspective. My friend and I, we both received the promise this year.

Because of His great love we were not consumed, for we walked the sacred way… together.