We use the word “hallelujah” so sparingly.
When we get an unexpected day off from work, hallelujah.
If you’re Madea, hallelujerrrr.
When we don’t get pulled over, even though we’re DEFINITELY going at least 10 miles over the speed limit, hallelujah.
When we agree with something that someone says, hallelujah.
When our preferred presidential candidate pulls the election out of their butt, hallelujah.
But what was “hallelujah” actually used for originally?
Hallelujah derives from the Greek word “allelouia” and the Hebrew “halleluyah.” (excuse my lack of the correct keyboards for the punctuations; find the correct spelling here) “Halleluyah” translates directly to “Praise ye the Lord.”
This is one of my absolute favorite words in the English language. It feels like breathing in the summer breeze, the feeling of laying in bed after a long day, taking a road trip at sunset.. It feels like the closest thing to heaven, because it is.
It strikes me that it translates to “praise ye the Lord.”
Praise ye the Lord.
We are called to praise God at all times, in all storms. And yet, the only time we openly use “hallelujah” as an exclamation of praising God is when things are going exactly the way we want things to go. We’re only interested in praising the one who created us when we are happy and healthy. It’s not hard to use “hallelujah” when we have nothing to worry about. It’s kind of the Christian equivalent to “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King.
But what about when you get called into work? What about when you get pulled over and you get a huge ticket, your candidate doesn’t win the presidency, when you’re scared, when you aren’t in good health, when the world isn’t blue skies and unicorns?
Halleluyah- Praise Ye the Lord.
Hallelujah- Praise the Lord.
This is the hardest thing for me. When my life is chaos, I don’t want to praise God. I want to praise wine, which helps me relax. I want to praise a hot bath, my favorite chick flick, Nathan.. whatever is making me feel better in that moment.
But I forget that “hallelujah” does not have limited terms of service.
Hallelujah is for when you need to remember the feeling of that road trip, the feeling of knowing that you are loved and important, Christmas Day, New Years Eve..
When you need to remember that there is a loving, merciful, compassionate, all consuming God that thought you were important enough to be in this world; the one who picked the color of your eyes from the stars he created, who chose the contents of your soul from the waves of the oceans, who cares enough to hold your hand through all of your life, even when you curse him.
Remember that “hallelujah” is a praise, not just an exclamation. Remember that God deserves praise from you at all times, even when you don’t feel like it’s enough; even when you don’t feel like you are enough.