“Stay with us, Lord Jesus, stay with us.
Stay with us, it soon is evening.
Stay with us, Lord Jesus, stay with us, it soon is evening and night is falling.”
I tend to think in song lyrics sometimes. I guess it’s part of being a musician. I have songs from when I was a kid all the way to now stuck somewhere in my head. When something reminds me of a song, the lyrics pop in my head and are there all day. Most of the time it’s just simple songs. Lately, it’s been kids songs since that’s all I sing with Selah. On certain days, however, my heart takes over and reaches for songs like “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” or “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” Recently, the song that’s been in my head has been one that we sang in Sanctuary Choir at church. The lyrics come from Luke 24:29, “But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.” Somedays, all I can think over and over again is “stay with me, please stay with me.” The days when my Dad was really sick and the months after he died, I begged… Please, night is coming and I need You here. Please, stay. After Selah was born and I struggled with breastfeeding… please stay with me. Every time I hear of a new tragedy that has happened around the world, when I think of children who have been separated from their families through war, when I become burdened with the darkness in this world… The list could go on… Please, Lord, stay with us.
When I was younger, I did my best to put myself in others’ shoes. For whatever reason, the older I got the more emotional I became over other people’s burdens. Part of it is growing up and having my world-view widened, I suppose. As we grow up we, hopefully, become more aware of what’s going on and in turn, our hearts are opened up to the needs of those around us. I believe the other part is teaching and motherhood. Ever since I started teaching, I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of my students. Some of these kids have lives and struggles that I’ve never seen or experienced. Before Selah was born, Taylor and I used to watch crime shows like Criminal Minds. It was one of my absolute favorites. The closer I got to the third trimester the less I wanted to watch them. I would start to cry and feel anxious anytime there was an episode involving children or families.
Now, the news comes on and there’s another story about some tragedy and my heart just breaks. I just don’t understand how we can be so cruel to each other… how can there be so much suffering… how can families be separated, children be bullied, people be persecuted for any reason someone else can find? I often become so overwhelmed with these feelings that all I can do is repeat these song lyrics over and over again.
Stay with us, Lord Jesus. I plead over and over again, please, stay with us. I know we make mistakes. I know we are cruel to each other. I know we are not taking care of Your world, of Your children, of our brothers and sisters… but please. Please, stay with us.
I search for hope in everything. A song I’ve been singing this week is called “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” by the Secret Sisters.
“Black clouds are behind me, I now can see ahead
Often I wonder why I try hoping for an end
Sorrow weighs my shoulders down
And trouble haunts my mind
But I know the present will not last
And tomorrow will be kinder
Tomorrow will be kinder
It’s true, I’ve seen it before
A brighter day is coming my way
Yes, tomorrow will be kinder.”
On the days that I’m particularly bogged down, I try to sing this song. It gives me a hope. Some people are good at recalling Bible verses and I do wish I was better at it, but I am thankful that songs come to mind first. Singing these lyrics over and over again assure me that there is hope for tomorrow. There will always be hope for change in this world, for improvement, for love, and for compassion for others.
It is too easy to become burdened, weighed down, and saddened in this world. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I think allowing ourselves to feel for others makes us better human beings. It becomes a problem when the sadness takes over and keeps us from action. I pray that we are able to find something to hold onto each day, whether it’s Scripture, a song, a saying, a picture, a memory, or a simple hope that allows to look forward to the future and to know that even in the nighttime, Jesus stays with us.