Blessed are the people who know the festal shout (teru’ah), who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face.
—Psalm 89:15 ESV
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been meditating on the verse above, and I’m becoming more convinced that praise is where the broken pieces of our pain find their way back together in a fresh form.
It would seem Scripture has its different ways of telling us that in the face of despair, praise does its healing work.
This particular verse from Psalm 89 speaks of a blessing that comes with knowing the teru’ah (festal shout), a blessing that grants us the ability to see life in the light of God’s presence—the greatest gift of all.
But the subtleties within the Hebrew word teru’ah, which is actually a note of the shofar, are lost in translation. This “festal shout” is born of the great tension that exists between our pain and God’s promises. The teru’ah is, in fact, a low and broken note, a sound that harmonizes with our dizziness and distress while urging us to rise and find our feet again.
Those who hear the teru’ah are reminded that when life gives them reasons to doubt God’s faithfulness, they can, even within the pain, experience and enter new dimensions of God’s faith for us.
It is, after all, through many trials that we must enter the kingdom of God (see Acts 14:22).
Are you in a season where you don’t have the words to pray? Maybe your words feel messy, irreverent, or inarticulate. You don’t need to go buy a shofar, but I do challenge you to release a cry, however broken it may sound. Whether it be a car, a room, a field, a closet, a forest . . . find a place to offer your holy exhale. For only those who breathe out can breathe in.
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. . . . And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good . . .” (Romans 8:26–27, emphasis added)
Shouting with you,
P.S. You probably know by now, but I’ll remind you just in case—the Words with God book is available as a book, ebook, and audiobook. AND it’s now available in Spanish as well. Thank you for the way y’all are sharing and owning this message. The testimonies I’ve gotten from those of you reading it have been humbling and riveting.
P.P.S. If you don’t know what a shofar is, you should google it. It’s worth the search. 🙂