by Brett Barry
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:21-24
Greetings, Dear Church at Cornerstone.
I'm enclosing a link to a song I wrote and recorded years ago in Nashville called, "I Believe", which was inspired by a worship rehearsal that took a different direction due to an unusually heavy snowstorm. (Nashville doesn't handle snow very well.) While I pray the song brings you perspective and strength, I want to share with you today a little more about the events that brought the inspiration, for, if we're willing, the lessons are in the journey.
Backstory: "I Believe"
As you likely deduced, we were living in Nashville at this time. I had been in a season of wrestling with the faith challenges that tend to arise when we seek to fully lay down our will to God's leading. Truth is, the path He leads us down when we say "Have Your way" never looks like we think it will, never. As such, the temptation to question whether He was and is actually leading can become great.
"God, did I hear correctly? Certainly, Your answer wouldn't look like this, would it? I must have missed something! Oh God! God?...Hello?" Silence. "God, where are You in all this...!?"
During this time, I was on staff at a church there and directing the worship department. As I was preparing for our weekly 7 PM rehearsal a snowstorm began rolling in. By about 5 PM it had begun snowing lightly, so I called a few of the team to get their thoughts on the weather; we agreed we were to continue with rehearsal anyway.
By about 6:45, only seven of the 13 had arrived at the church. The others felt it best to stay home since we didn't know how bad the storm would be. We could see the snowfall getting heavier, so with most of our rhythm section and a couple vocalists missing, I didn't even bother to fire up the sound system. Instead, I thought it best to just take some time and worship together for a little bit and then go home early. So I pulled out my acoustic and we began to worship.
We sang a few familiar songs we were planning for the service, and then we began singing what was simply in our hearts. Before we knew it, God's presence came with an unusual intensity. It was deep, pure and all-consuming, much like a thick blanket of freshly fallen snow. Somewhere in that stretch, I began singing from the depths of my being, "I believe, I believe, I believe, everything You say." It resonated with the desire of our hearts collectively, and our awareness of how, even though we believed, we still needed to proclaim our belief. "...I believe, help my unbelief!"
We sang on and on, and went deeper and deeper. And, somehow, in that time, we lost track of time; or, perhaps, we escaped it. Because when we finally looked at a clock...it was 11:30 PM! 11:30? What? We had been worshiping for over four hours, but it felt like only a few moments.
It was crazy! We were shocked, perplexed and giddy. I suggested we wrap up and get home. We laughed a bit, sat in silence, then, without conscious thought, slipped back into worship. In what seemed like another few moments, we surfaced once again. This time the clock read 1:30! What? Another two hours had passed! It was incredible! No one wanted to go home. At 2 AM, we finally were able to leave the building.
Yep. In the blink of an eye, six hours had passed....amazing. And the drive home in six inches of freshly fallen snow formed a beautiful picture of what God was doing in our hearts.
Friend, that was an Ebenezer. A landmark alter. A stamp in the timeline of our lives that will forever mark a moment where our meeting with the Lord transcended time. Wrapped in God's presence, we ascended out of time and into that place of fellowship with Him where the Holy Spirit could lift our hearts and minds into unison with His own. It was indeed, another dimension.
The beautiful part is that all we did was show up and worship with all we had available. I've had hundreds of worship encounters, and many unique and other-worldly moments. All I can say is, this one was a gift.
While it's difficult to communicate the impact it had on my life, I give you some of its fruit in "I Believe". If it resonates with you, I encourage you to use it as a proclamation of agreement over your life, recognizing that waiting on the Lord is a very pro-active process that brings His perspective and strength to our hearts and minds through the confession we practice.
On His side, sometimes in His time, always for His glory,
Click to listen: I Believe