The simple song lyric that undid me

A friend of mine is fond of muttering, “Hell in a handbasket, my dear. Hell in a handbasket.” This is usually in response to:

  • yet another crass reality TV show in the lineup,
  • an encounter with a rude or texting driver,
  • sloppy workmanship in an already overpriced product,

. . . or any of a number of other “proofs” that society is unraveling at a meteoric rate.

It’s become so common, we’ve adopted a kind of shorthand between us. My friend now just looks at me and says, “Handbasket!” Enough said.

It’s easy to default to negative thinking these days, though, isn’t it? You look around at the alarming lack of civility among so-called leaders;  the deep divides along racial, religious, and socioeconomic lines; the creeping fear of violence and danger at every turn . . . and you can start to despair.

If you’re like me, sometimes you’re tempted to turn off the news, gather your loved ones, and just hide,  if only that would help. 

“Handbasket!” Right?

IMG_9488But this past Sunday, a single line in a song at church opened my eyes to a really important truth. We were singing “Strong God”* (listen to it here) and there’s a line that says, “This is God in His holy place.”
Just that one lyric was all it took to pierce my heart and change my perspective.

I started thinking about all the places people were worshipping God at that very moment — in who knows how many languages — all over the world: megachurches in affluent suburbs; humble churches in blighted neighborhoods; portable churches in schools and theaters; tiny congregations huddled in secret, fearing persecution; hospital chapels; prison cells; even lonely kitchen tables.

And it hit me: These are God’s holy places. He is present in every single one. 

If even a pinpoint of light were to be switched on in each of these locations, all darkness would be dispelled and the whole world would glow. And wouldn’t we take heart if we could actually see our surroundings flooded with the light of the presence of a holy God?

Obviously, we can’t see our globe literally lit up with God’s glory this side of Heaven, but we can know with certainty He hasn’t left us and never will; He is in His holy place, with His people. His presence defeats the darkness every time.

The future can look dismal and all of society can seem to be imploding (“Handbasket!”) but, as the song continues, “This is God, clothed in love and strength”*. He is the One we worship, He is the One who is truly in control, and He is in His holy place right now.


*Songwriters: MEREDITH ANDREWS, JASON INGRAM, JON EGAN © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.


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About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

3 thoughts on “The simple song lyric that undid me”

  1. I like how you phrase that it took but one lyric to pierce your heart. It is interesting how so often it is something singular, or simple that allows us to re-frame our experiences with God.

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