Olivia Newport Statue of Christ

The statue of Christ that stands over the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

I like to tell stories and often do in this spot on my blog—filed under “Lens on Life.” Small moments, routine events, a few words of conversation from the everyday can lift us from the ordinary to a surpassing wonder about this beautiful thing we call life.

By putting the lens on life, my life in particular, I see the greatness in the smallness and understand a range of experiences as still frames in a movie that keeps rolling.

Five weeks ago my brother died, and his loss created wider ripples in family changes. And the loss of my brother became the story for me. Grief is that way. You stand frozen in a still frame and cannot comprehend that the movie keeps playing around you. The story of your life shifts on a tectonic scale. The script is rewritten, and you can’t find the page you are supposed to be on.

The events of our lives, our stories, are part of the bigness of God’s story. God invites us to step into his story and be part of the movie of his kingdom, and our experiences take on meaning in that context.

I do believe that.

But this morning, I felt God step into my story. In church I sang the hymn, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” and I heard reassurance and transcendence and meaning.

God came to stand with me in my still frame. The story within the story reversed. It was okay that grief is the story right now, because God is incarnate even there, and Christ is risen even there.

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!