Better Than A Hallelujah

Previously published on 1/7/2013

I love praise and worship. It’s my favorite part of any church service. I’ve been singing and playing the piano for as long as I can remember. It’s a part of me; knit into the very fiber of my being. It’s thrilling for me to join in praise through song with other believers. Corporate worship resonates within me, straight to my core.

But, I also love those quiet moments when I pour out my heart to the Lord privately. I love that I can “approach the throne of grace with confidence so that [I] may receive mercy and find grace to help [me] in my time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). I am so grateful to have that right and privilege as a daughter of the King. The Psalmist says it this way:

“You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8).

It’s beautiful to have a Savior who pays attention to our grief.

Sometimes, grief is a result of things beyond our control, but at other times, we bring it upon ourselves by making sinful choices. Even in those moments, it is a beautiful melody to the Lord when we come before Him in repentance. In his time of darkest disobedience, when he built sin upon sin in order to hide his transgressions, King David came before the Lord in humility and brokenness. Psalm 51 was his heart’s cry to the Lord.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:1,10-12).

And, he shared what truly pleases the Lord when he said,

“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17).

A broken and contrite heart is what the Lord longs to see in us. He longs to see us acknowledge our weakness and our failings and lay them at His feet. A song by Amy Grant has been echoing in my heart lately. The chorus says,

“We pour out our miseries; God just hears a melody. Beautiful, the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a Hallelujah”.

These seemingly incompatible lyrics reflect the same spirit of King David. I know that the Lord rejoices in our praises and our hallelujahs when we gather together in corporate worship. I know that He loves to hear His children praise Him when things are going well. But, how beautiful it must be to the Savior to have His children crawl up into His lap when they are grieving, in pain or seeking restored relationship. How achingly sweet it must be to know that His child seeks His solace and grace. Maybe it’s even better than a hallelujah.

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