Sometimes my soul gets dusty. Worship music no longer moves me; prayers are no longer my first resort when something goes awry. Life seems to be getting busier and busier; days are laden with stress; there are emails to be sent and meetings to attend, assignments to complete, and I get so caught up with life that I forget the reason why I’m living.
The evening of Eastern’s annual all-night worship event, Conquer the Night, was a busy Friday night, and I’ll admit I was disappointed with how difficult it was for me to dig deep in the worship going on around me. My soul was dusty, and it had been for a while. I was numb. During the organized prayer time, I was distracted by the muddiness of the bass drum’s tone or the twitching palm of the person with whom I was supposed to be praying. I observed the comings and goings of my fellow classmates, and I debated leaving when the music was too loud for my weary ears. Amidst the distractions, I got progressively frustrated that everyone around me was getting so much more out of the evening than I was; I was annoyed that I couldn’t focus myself for even one prayer. So while those around me cried out prayers of deliverance and begged God to continue His work in their lives, I simply prayed for peace. I figured that if nothing else, I wanted to walk away from that evening with more peace in my soul than when I had arrived. I prayed it over and over again. My mind would wander elsewhere, and I’d beg it to come back: “Lord bring me peace.”
About halfway through the evening, we heard a brief message in which we were reminded “God likes you.” How simple. How easy. How peaceful. We sang songs with simple lyrics: “You are good, when there’s nothing good in me” and “how great Thou art,” and with the simplest exhale, God blew the layers of dust off of my soul as He reminded me that though life is complicated, His love remains a constant. Though His love is complex, it is steady, and it is abounding, and He remains good even when I’m not.
God deserves the manifolds of our hearts, but when we seem to be dropping every piece of our complex selves on our way to His arms, it is okay to instead bring Him the simplicity of our hearts. He wants all of us, and sometimes that has to begin with simply asking for peace to remember why we’re here.