Joy Invincible


Switchfoot released their newest album on Friday. Since you already know that I'm a sold-out SF fan, you'll want to know what I think of the new album. It's amazing. More diverse. Still filled with soul-deep lyrics and plenty of interesting bass lines. Enough to keep me busy teasing out musical nuisance and pondering how each song applies to my own soul's journey... for at least the rest of 2019.

One song sparked an emotional response immediately. This happens sometimes. I hear something or read something and all of sudden my mind is skipping around connecting thoughts, memories, half-formed ideas. I can't always make sense of it. Lately, I've discovered that this is a sign that God is about to reveal something new to me. He's about to take me deeper in our relationship. I'm learning to let my mind skip around. Let the tears roll down. And wait for the understanding. I know it will come in time. The Holy Spirit promises to "teach me all things" (John 14:26). So I wait.

Back to the song. Right. "Joy Invincible" is a happy song, very danceable. Put it on when you and the kids are doing Saturday chores. It'll be the spoonful of sugar y'all need.

For me, though, it had me in tears from the first verse.

Everything fell to pieces

when my eyes met yours

In that hospital gown

And the dreams we once were dreaming

That we held so close

Felt impossible now

And all the plans we held for the future

And all the memories up from the past

The world I once knew

Was in a cardboard box

In the lobby lost and found

- "Joy Invincible" by Jon Foreman, Switchfoot

It took me back to those first moments in the ER. New memories revealed themselves. I tried to explain it to Chris but tears got in the way. I'll try again here.

I remembered the kind paramedic who took me to the hospital and could do nothing more than start an IV on the way. At some point, he held my hand. And that was enough. I remember I held on tight and didn't let go until I was moved to the ER bed.

I remembered the moment I had to let go of Chris' hand when they rushed me from the ER to the ICU... while sedating me at the same time so they could intubate me as soon as the bed stopped rolling.

I remembered the second IR procedure. Rushed. I remembered the fear. I remember a sweet nurse who seemed to understand the fear. She took my hand while others prepped me. She needed to let go at one point, but I didn't want her too. So she said, "Ok" and held on until I was out.

I remembered somehow communicating that I wanted to hold Dave's hand in the ICU. I was intubated and it took effort to relay my desire, but once it was understood, Dave was at my side within a few hours. I remember feeling his hand in mine as I came in and out of consciousness for hours.

Each of those memories were moments of fear, calmed by the presence of another human being. I don't understand why it mattered. I just know that in the moment, holding on to someone felt like holding on to life.

That song brought back those feelings. The hospital gown, Chris' eyes streaming with tears, our dreams blown away forever in a moment, our past recalled as a gift. It was all of that. Rushing through my mind. Overwhelming my soul for days.

Each time I process the past year, my trauma, new layers reveal themselves. And yet... God becomes larger in each remembrance.

I remember Chris' eyes but I also remember his words. He looked at me and said, "I've already talked with God. I'm ready." God wasn't absent in that ER room. He was filling it.

I don't recall the words he spoke, but I remember each time I awoke in the ICU, I heard Dave praying. God was holding my hand through Dave's.

Hallelujah, Nevertheless was the song the pain couldn't destroy

Hallelujah, Nevertheless you're my joy invincible,

Joy invincible, joy

- "Joy Invincible" by Jon Foreman, Switchfoot

It is possible to have joy in the midst of trauma. Joy isn't a feeling that's free to take a pass as my emotions take a rollercoaster ride. Joy is that thing, that essence, that is proof of a steady hope. Joy is what happens when I realize that God hasn't forgotten me. Joy is what can be shared in the midst of tears. Joy, invincible joy, is proof that God has me in His hands and He's not letting go.