We have a lot of hymns in our church, a few hundred we rotate through, but there are a special few that I really attach to my childhood. When I was a kid, I was in a very small congregation and I was the one who played the piano for our service. Me, an 11 year old. They were simplified versions but that didn’t stop me from being so nervous every Sunday. So I loved the shorter hymns, the ones that would get me back in my seat next to my little sister the fastest. I paid far more attention to the notes than the words back then. There’s this one called “There is a Green Hill Far Away” and I could never make much sense of it. Words seemed to be missing or in strange orders; it used some of that biblical language that was indecipherable. But as I’ve gotten older and the notes come easier and I have space to dwell on the words, it has become a favorite of mine. Particularly this verse:
We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains he had to bear
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
Suffering is universal, an unavoidable part of being human. I’ve been suffering a little bit taking care of my two small children with their dad thousands of miles away. We sang this hymn in church this morning and I was taken back to being a kid, liking this hymn because the tune was pretty and easy to play. I love it now because it reminds me that though I cannot know, I cannot tell what pains the Savior had to bear, because he suffered everything he can absolutely know what pains I am bearing right now. I am not alone. Nobody is.
Happy Sunday, everybody.