The tears welled up without notice as I tried to break down the narratives of war and heroism in a way that my 7 year old could understand. I tried to paint him a picture of the courage and sacrifice that’s been displayed over and over to defeat evil, bring freedom, liberate the oppressed and deliver justice.
Why was I so tearful about it?
It was a beautiful morning, and a rare chance to be in the car with just my oldest son. We were greeting at church that morning which requires an early arrival. I typically turn on a podcast or a pandora worship station, but I was still feeling pretty psyched about my overzealous run of purchases I had made in the iTunes store the day before, when I went on a buying spree of film scores and orchestral music. So, I asked him if he wanted to listen to some of my ‘music with no words’.
He quickly started asking what movies the songs were from, which led to him asking the plot lines of the movies.
Strangely enough, I’ve found that many of my favorite film scores are from war drama/action movies, or historical fiction movies, or other types of epic films. They evoke something in my soul that feels like it’s been repressed, aching to get out. It’s as if I identify with the story just by hearing the piano, the strings, the brass or the percussion. And then the tears usually fall, or I get hit with a burst of inspiration to write something or read something or just grab all my people and go outside to see something beautiful.
There was a day a couple of months ago, where I was stuck in a rut of anxiety and depression, where I felt like my mind just couldn’t break free and I was feeling so dark. I spent some time alone in my room, listening to my film score playlist-Braveheart, The Pacific, Band of Brothers, Lord of the Rings-and pretty soon I (wait for it……) started to cry. I felt at once inspired and reinvigorated.
Why this genre of music?
Well, after thinking about it, I realized that either consciously or subconsciously these songs make me think about the story that inspired them. The music somehow tells a story in and of itself. If you know the plot line behind the song, even better. But there really is something that draws out the inner part of us that longs for victory, redemption, hope, and happy endings.
It seems that God has wired a few people on the planet to give our earthly ears a taste of the heavenly soundtrack that narrates our existence; one that swings wildly between victorious triumph and heart-wrenching trial, as we await the day when we know nothing but peace and victory.
Why are our souls so moved by these narratives? Could it be that the deepest parts of us, the ones impervious to our logic, our analysis, our jaded thought-processes, could it be that those parts of our soul resonate with the narrative in a way that our analytical, rational mind sometimes cannot? Can we deny that we have some sort of hard-wiring to crave justice, truth, and the triumphing of good over evil?
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
It’s right there. He has set eternity in our human hearts. Solomon also tells us here in ecclesiastes that NO ONE can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Is it possible that our hearts know that there is something unfathomably beautiful waiting to be revealed, and so we chase it? We chase it by being drawn like moths to flame toward these stories that whisper the themes of the greatest story. These stories that show an ending where wrongs are made right, where people are restored to each other, where a higher purpose is achieved often through great sacrifice; these stories turn the heads of our hearts because our souls cannot look away from the glory that awaits.
“Listen to me, my people.
Hear me, Israel,
for my law will be proclaimed,
and my justice will become a light to the nations.
My mercy and justice are coming soon.
My salvation is on the way.
My strong arm will bring justice to the nations.
All distant lands will look to me
and wait in hope for my powerful arm.” -Isaiah 51:4-5
Could it be that we long for this to happen more than we can even acknowledge? We see every day that we are surrounded by a world where brokenness prevails, where evil people seem to get away with murder, where things just feel off. Inside there is something in us that knows this is not how it’s supposed to be.
Just yesterday I broke down when I heard yet another horrific news report about a suicide bombing at a wedding. A time that was supposed to be full of joy, in an instant ravaged by evil, taking the lives of even the very young. Something rages inside me. I’m so eager to see an end to this kind of thing. I know that God is going to bring an end to it, but the waiting is hard sometimes. If we remain engaged with the brokenness of this world rather than just numbing out and living in a bubble, we are inevitably going to feel a restlessness and yearning for justice that we can’t shut off until it’s fulfilled.
‘When he opened the fifth seal,
I saw under the altar the souls of those who had
been slain because of the word of God and
the testimony they had maintained. They
called out in a loud voice, “how long, Sovereign
Lord, holy and true, until you judge
the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’-Revelation 6:9-10
And so we long for that day when the great Greatest Soldier defeats the most terrible enemy once and for all. The day when the greatest Romance reaches full perfection with no more wandering, no more impure motives, no more wounded hearts. The day will come when all the oppressed taste full freedom and restoration. And the day will come when judgment is served. Evil will no longer reign, wreaking havoc on the ones God created for love.
When we hear the sound tracks to the familiar narratives of our time, it stirs in us the unshakeable yearning for the Greatest Narrative to be brought to full fruition; captives freed, evil banished, love restored, peace prevailing over all things.
Until the real thing is here I’ll keep putting these great songs through my speakers and earbuds to keep my heart pointed toward that glorious fulfillment that is closer with each passing day.
‘Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:
“Praise the Lord!
For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.” Revelation 19:6-9 NLT