How He Loves – the power of a song in the midst of pain

Artwork by Kim Harms

He sat on the couch and listened to How He Loves over and over. We had just learned his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and this was my hubby’s way of dealing with the news. Worship. Music is how he connects with his creator.

Not long after that Corey began singing and playing How He Loves in church, leading the congregation in worship.  I love to listen to Corey sing pretty much anything, but if I was told to choose one last song to hear him sing, it would be that one. Because I know what it means to him.

Even in cancer these words by John Mark McMillan are true –

“He is jealous for me. Loves like a hurricane. I am a tree. Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.”

We didn’t expect that just a few short years after his mom battled cancer, we’d be rocked by my own breast cancer diagnosis.  My love for that song deepened as I stood in a sea of people at church, lost in my sadness and listening to my hubby’s sweet sweet voice fill the room. Even in the midst of a freshly broken heart, he worshiped.

It’s been a few years since Jesus walked us through cancer. And I hadn’t heard that song in a while. I hadn’t heard Corey sing it in a long long while.

Then January 20 happened. The anniversary of the day my life shifted from before-cancer to after-cancer.  On January 20, 2016, I collapsed in Corey’s arms crying over and over, “I don’t want to have cancer. I don’t want to have cancer. . .” On January 20, 2019, we stood together in a church where our friend Laura was leading worship. My heart blanketed with a heaviness that I can only assume will always show up on this day.

Laura began singing How He Loves.

She didn’t know we would be there that day. She didn’t know it was the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. And she didn’t know the significance of How He Loves in our lives. But Jesus did.

I stood in the back row, legs shaking, willing myself not to collapse in a mess of tears. I closed my eyes, raised my hands in worship and listened to Corey sing beside me.

There is not a sweeter gift than one that you know could not have possibly been orchestrated by human hands.  

Oh how He loves us. And oh how thankful I am that He does.

Kim Harms

Kim Harms is a writer and speaker who is represented by Literary Agent Karen Neumair of Credo Communications. She is under contract with Familius Publishing for her first book, tentatively titled Life Reconstructed. Harms has a degree in English: Literary Studies from Iowa State University and was a regular contributor at the former Today's Christian Woman. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries in 2016 after being diagnosed with breast cancer and writes about her Life Reconstructed at Central Iowa is home, and she lives there with her husband Corey and their 3 ever-growing man-children.

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