Twila Paris was releasing her first albums of Christian songs about the time I started my first job in Christian radio. These days some of the songs by her that we were playing on the air back then show up in church hymnals. But there are other songs that she wrote that are too personal for that. They are among the ones that continue to echo in my ear these many years later. One of these is titled Do I Trust You? It opens with the lines:
Sometimes my little heart can’t understand
What’s in Your will, what’s in Your plan
So many times I’m tempted to ask You why
This is one of the songs that I often hear Melanie playing off her smart phone early in the morning. It makes a good start as we wake up to another day that seems much like the day just past.
Twila, while still a young lady, had discovered that her new husband had the Epstein-Barr Virus, causing him to suffer from debilitating fatigue. He was unable to travel with her on her concert tours. She was quoted in an interview saying, “For the first time in my life I was encountering something that no matter what I did I couldn’t fix it, it was beyond my control. And it really led me to a point of having to reassess my faith and having to say: This is something that’s very difficult for me and frustrating and painful, I wish I could change it but I can’t.’ I believe that God could but in his wisdom he is not choosing to do it right now. And so I had to answer the question whether I trust him and whether I submit to his hand at work in my life.”
I know the doctrine and theology
But right now they don’t mean much to me
This time there’s only one thing I’ve got to know
Do I trust You, Lord?
Twila answers her her own question poetically, in the next breath.
Do I trust You, Lord? Does the robin sing?
Twila continued to write out of this painful turn in her life. The titles of songs like Every Heart That Is Breaking and This Thorn still move me to tears and take my breath away so that I was never able to sing along. That last song begins with the words
Thank you for this thorn embedded in my flesh
That is not how you write when you want a hit record that will be played on the radio. But it is how you speak when you are on your face before the Lord. These days I mostly don’t know what else to say down there.
So, thank you, Twila, for helping me and speaking for me. For us.