Have you ever heard a song that speaks to your heart so clearly that it’s almost as if God’s using a megaphone to grab your attention? Recently I heard the song “Every Mile Mattered” (click to watch the video) by Nichole Nordeman, and it was definitely one of those moments! It spoke into the fears and worries that have been on my heart lately in a powerful way. It speaks of messiness and confusion in our lives, and it reminded me that there’s a reason for everything that has happened, whether I can see those reasons now or not. Here are some of my favorite lyrics:
You can’t rewrite it
You’re not meant to be trapped inside it
Every tear brought you here,
Every sorrow gathered
But every mile mattered
Those last words are pure gold—“Every mile mattered.” A friend recently lamented to me after she broke up with her boyfriend, “Now I’m back at square one.” But this song helped me to realize that nothing could be further from the truth! Every experience, every hurt, and every joy we encounter changes us, and God uses all of those things to shape and mold us into who He wants us to be. What a crazy and beautiful truth! When things don’t turn out as we had hoped and we feel like that job or relationship or project was a waste of time, what if we held on to this reality of God’s patient molding of our hearts rather than giving in to frustration and regret?
It’s so easy to fall into the “Why, God?!” trap, doubting His love and His plan, doubting that He is good and that His plan is what’s best for us. It’s good to be honest with God with the questions and hurts of our hearts, but sometimes we need to take a step back and remember what an amazing and powerful and gentle God we serve. At the Encounter Milwaukee young adult conference this past weekend, we prayed the words of a praise and worship song, “You are good,” and at one point the priest had just the ladies sing it, asking the men to pray for their sisters in Christ as we sang those words, that we would know the goodness of the Father and His intimate love for each of our hearts in a deeper way. It was such a beautiful moment, as our brothers prayed that the Father would remind us of His love. The priest also reminded us that praising God isn’t the same as thanking Him—we praise Him for who He Is, while we thank Him for what He’s done for us. Even when we don’t understand why God is doing what He’s doing in our lives, and we fall into sadness and anxiety, we can praise Him for who He Is, because we know that He Is good and He will never change or let us down!
So this Thanksgiving, the raw prayer of my heart is that we would each be given the grace to take our lives—past, present, and future—and lift them up to the Father, praising Him for Who He Is and thanking Him for what He’s done in all the winding paths of our lives, even if it doesn’t all make sense to us right now. He’s not done writing our story, but we can trust that when we look back someday, we will see that His plan was beautiful—and every mile really did matter.