So in the last couple of weeks I’ve had a few people ask me, “Who’s this Tenley from Newberg on the Bachelor? Does she work with Nate?” And I say, “No, she doesn’t work with Nate. Her mom does though. I know, it’s a little misleading…” Our local news media has had a little frenzy in highlighting the most popular Bachelorette from Oregon. Whether it’s on Facebook, talking about it with married friends (some who love the show, some who cringe/hate it), or following the “latest” Bachelor news online… It’s all strange. (And I’m not really going to weigh in with my opinion because that’s not the point.) But it’s entertainment, right? Right. But it is also someone’s life, and that is what makes it slightly interesting from my perspective.
Today at church I sat near Tenley’s parents during our worship time. (Personally enjoyable, as they tend to really engage in time of worship through song…but I could quickly digress…) Anyway, as part of the Worship Planning Team, I knew what songs were going to come later and I knew what other aspects of the “service order” were coming, too. I knew that we were going to spend some time in prayer for people in Haiti. I also knew that we were going to celebrate the story of another “celebrity” couple that is now making local, national and even international news.
The dear young couple, Joel and Rachel Hoffman, have been living in Port-au-Prince for 4 months prior to last week’s earthquake. Their story of survival is a miracle. Nothing less. A pure, give God all the glory, miracle. So we celebrated as we shared a bit of their story, but we also continued to mourn and anguish over the past week’s events.
So somehow today right before we sang, “You are God Alone (not a god)” and the lines, “And right now, in the good times and bad, You are on Your throne, You are God alone…” I felt this indescribable not-quite-tension-but not-quite-peace moment. A few feet away are some parents with a daughter experiencing some pretty life-changing, following your dreams-type of circumstances. I know they are proud of their daughter. And I also know that they have also walked through some dark valleys in the past year as parents, which makes right now where there is love and support and laughter over something like Monday night “Bachelor” episodes, even that much sweeter.
Then a few feet away from them are two very dear people who are like Joel and Rachel’s spiritual parents, who spent a long night wondering if Joel and Rachel were alive, and who rejoice in their survival but also hurt for the hurts that they are experiencing physically, emotionally and mentally after having witnessed such a nightmare of devastation.
And we all sang. And we all worshipped. And we all acknowledged that God is on His throne. And I (think) we all meant it.
Today I realized a fraction more of the Power of God. (A significant revelation for me, but a fraction compared to what is.) It’s like there are some songs we sing that are songs of desperation, or songs where we are intimately recognizing our need to surrender to God, and hymns with rich theology and prayer-like language, and there are other songs where we can celebrate and “Sing Sing Sing” and be full of joy and wonder. But somehow this song, in the midst of seeing these people whose children’s faces have been plastered online in so many different ways…this song gave me a glimpse into this dual nature of the loving, tender, merciful God who we can trust in, but also this Alpha and Omega, sovereign, Creator God whose power “none can contend.”
It’s been a weird week, 180 degrees difference in thoughts from Monday night Bachelor viewing to Tuesday night earthquake praying. But all I know is that for all the ways that media can take any kind of story and run with it — the good, the bad, the heartbreaking, the devastating, the nauseating, the miraculous — I am so, so small. I know it could seem so trivial and insignificant to somehow correlate how the Bachelor fits into a blog post where the disaster in Haiti is mentioned, but I think God is big enough to handle my processing of life and worship and worship in life.