Someone "Up There" Loves You

I've been thinking a lot lately about the presence of God in a troubled world.  Go figure, right?  

It started with a song... It was on a playlist that iTunes created for me based on the kinds of music that I've been listening to lately.  

In case you're curious, it's a mixture of sad, reflective, melancholy acoustic songs, and super angry, scream-into-the-microphone hard rock and heavy metal.  And there's some poppy, happy, look-on-the-bright-side stuff sprinkled in, too.  

The song in question is from the last group, and is entitled "Look Up" by Joy Oladokun:  

Look up
There's flowers in your hair
Hold on
'Cause somebody loves you
You know trouble's always gonna be there
Don't lеt it bring you to your knees

I smiled when I heard it because earlier this week I  wrote about a time when I was praying with my face pointed to the night sky because that's what you do when you want to direct your attention to God---you look up, right?  

But the line that stuck in my head was the one that said, "Hold on /'Cause somebody loves you..." 

And at that moment I remembered a quote that I'd written down from a book of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's sermons I've been reading.  The quote spoke right into that feeling of wanting to know that there is someone "up there" who cares when we are hurting: 

When we are staggered by the chilly winds of adversity and battered by the raging storms of disappointment and when through our folly and sin we stray into some destructive far country and are frustrated because of a strange feeling of homesickness, we need to know that there is Someone who loves us, cares for us, understands us, and will give us another chance.  

Come on!  You know that preaches, right?  I mean when I read that paragraph the other day, I felt something like a shiver go up my spine. 

But today as I thought about that quote and the song that made me remember it... I was suddenly overcome by a poignant memory of my mom.  

I am sitting at the kitchen table of the house we lived in when I was in high school.  I had moved out long before then but had come back home to wash some clothes and try to get a few bags of groceries from her if I could.  She is listening to me talk to her about all of the things going on in my life.  In a moment she'll slip me twenty dollars as I'm getting ready to leave with my clean laundry and three paper bags filled with food.  There is no judgment in her eyes despite the fact that I'm not really living all that well.  She knows I'll spend the twenty dollars on a carton of cigarettes and a night out with my friends.  She gives it to me anyway along with the food and her undivided attention, and her unwavering love.  As I drive away, I see her standing at the door waving to me.  

I would give everything I have in the world to be able to go back in time to that moment and relive it.  It was one of the hundreds like it, but that particular one is stuck in my head in vivid detail, and I understand why now. 

Looking back, I realize it was at that moment that I got a glimpse of the never-ending love and comforting presence of God more fully than I ever had before. 

Because as I drove away that afternoon, I was struck with the profound feeling that no matter what... I was loved... no matter what I was accepted... no matter what I belonged.  

You have your own moments to recall, I am sure of it.  You experienced God's love one day, disguised as your life.  You may not have recognized it then, but the memory of it stayed with you--even if it was only as you remembered it.  

Hold on to the feeling it brings you now.  Call it to mind when you feel alone or afraid.  May your memory of it be a blessing.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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