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Finding An Anthem For Affliction

The first time I heard John Mark McMillan’s (now widely-known) song “How He Loves Us,” I was at the funeral of a high school friend who passed away in a car accident. I distinctly remember how the words confounded my mind but resonated somewhere within my heart all at once.

Part of the chorus goes like this:

He is jealous for me
Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy

After singing it through both seasons of heartache and celebration over the past decade, one line continues to stop me in my tracks:

Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree.

Though sung to a soft melody, those words strike me as fierce — destructive, even.

What happens to a tree in a hurricane?

I’ve asked myself that question over and over again, as if hoping the answer might change… the tree bends, for sure; and more often than not, it breaks.

Ironically, John Mark McMillan wrote that song the day after he lost his best friend in a car accident. Little did he know he had written it for me too. In an interview, he disclosed it was a song birthed from weakness and anger, never a song intended for the masses to sing.

He wrote it as an expression of his broken heart.

He wrote it to comfort the questions that will always be unanswered on this side of heaven—such as why we so often lose people we love so suddenly. And ultimately, it is a song describing the love that will carry us through it all.

Love is a force that is widely known for the joy it brings, yet the pain that accompanies it can catch us by great surprise. It can flatten us to the ground with its swirling wind, and it can even bring an anthem out of our affliction if we let it. John Mark McMillan’s song teaches us something important.

There is no escaping the tragedy of this life.

But there most certainly is the letting in of the love that will make the pain more than worthwhile.

Sooner or later, Love will break you, and the world is waiting for what will come out of you once it does.

If you are struggling with the tragedy of life, please contact Sage Hill Counseling to set up an appointment with one of our counselors. We’re here to help.

Sarah Aughtman is a therapist at Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville, TN. She recently earned her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca and is currently working toward licensure in the state of Tennessee. Learn more about Sarah.

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