After studying English for four years in college, I almost can’t read or listen to music without looking for the deeper meaning in what’s being said. A month or so ago, I kept hearing this song about saints marching by Sara Groves. I didn’t pay much attention at first because I thought it was some CCM remix of “Oh when the saints…Oh when the saints…Oh when the saints go…” (you know the one I mean), but when I really listened in, the story was quite familiar and incredibly soul-gripping. Sara tells a story that we all should be able to identify with – feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by our burdens. In the opening lines of this lyrical testament of faith, she details her heavy burden then flashes to a feeling of overwhelming conviction that’s “burning like a fire shut up in [her] bones” as she looks to the Word of God for solace. She also goes on to reflect up on all that went before her – also bearing heavy burdens – who were released from the agony of those burdens by the grace of Jesus and His promises. This song is an upbeat testimony shining light on what happens when we have faith instead of looking to ourselves for answers and relief from things that feel too incredible to bear. She produces a list of others who have overcome struggles by His mercy alone, realizing that her troubles can also be overcome by faith in Him.
Author Paul Trip says, “grace comes to us in uncomfortable forms.” He notes that these forms are used, by God, to refine us and transform us. Isn’t it humbling to know that even in our trials, Christ is fixing us and making us better? He’s using our burdens to draw us closer to Him and to make us better disciples – as Sara’s song suggests. He’s used my own battle with anxiety to help me help others in the same situation and to help me fully trust Him; He’s used my past jobs to help me realize that my true value is revealed through Him, not in the numbers on a paycheck. He’s shown me that the things of this world, material possessions and people, can be lost – yet He is steadfast and through His grace we are given constant mercy and satisfaction; He is the only safe place in which to invest our faith.
Tripp also notes that “true righteousness begins when you come to the end of yourself.” In order to fully trust in the Lord and to fully experience a release from our burdens, we have to do it without conditions. We shouldn’t “fix ourselves up for Him.” We shouldn’t wait to be perfectly presentable to him (because we will never be). Sara notes that we may be “weary and overwrought with so many battles left unfought,” but still as we’ve seen consistently through the hearts of other Christians and through the promise of his Word, he will see us through. We have to hand him our burdens, with full trust, and allow him to work in our hearts from where we stand. I’m thankful that every time I hear this song because with every replay, I’m reminded again of God’s unending grace and how it works in my heart and the has worked in the hearts of so many others throughout time – relieving burdens of all sizes in every corner of the world.