When I first heard the song Graves into Gardens by Elevation Worship I fell in love with it, BUT I didn’t think it’d be one I’d introduce as a worship song at BVAG. It’s got a little more symbolism than I normally include in a congregational setting, it references a couple of lesser known Bible stories, and the words on that awesome bridge move kind of fast so they’re tricky to learn quickly. Plus, we aren’t currently able to have services in person so I’ve been sticking to really familiar songs for us. But, the more I’ve listened to the song and let it sink into my spirit, the more important its message has become to me. That’s why I’ve chosen to share it with the whole church!
- The first verse moves us from being lost (first stanza); to being found (second stanza). Then in verse two we see that we’re not merely found, we’re accepted (first stanza); and we’re not only accepted, but by God’s grace and mercy we are pursued (second stanza) - we are loved!
- That simple chorus “There’s nothing better than You, Lord…” at first seemed just that - simple. But in these days when we’re not able to meet at church or go to a restaurant or be close enough for a hug, etc, the reminder that our God is good - SO good that nothing is better than Him - is life-giving and life-sustaining! I’m reminded that going next door to El Pueblito is good, but knowing the Lord is BETTER; being at a huge family gathering or hanging out with my group of girlfriends is good, but knowing the Lord is BETTER; and even going to 1771 Forest Hills Blvd for a church service is good - really, really good - but knowing the Lord is even BETTER. There’s nothing better than You, Lord!
Then there are those amazing phrases in that bridge, one more exciting than the one before:
- You turn mourning to dancing: Taken from Psalm 30, this line reminds us that weeping is temporary, but with Jesus, JOY always comes!
- You give beauty for ashes: Isaiah 61:1-3 is for all believers who will say YES to God’s anointing on us to spread the Gospel!! Such a powerful prophetic word! Let’s receive it!
- You turn shame into glory: All throughout scripture, we see the redemption of Jesus, whose cross transforms our sin - our shame - and makes us blameless in His sight, that we may receive eternal life with Jesus and dwell in the glory of the Lord forever!!
- You turn graves into gardens: What can I say? A cemetery without bodies is just a pretty flower garden! The tomb of Jesus without the body of Jesus is no longer a tomb! HE IS RISEN!
- You turn bones into armies: Referencing the incredible story of prophecy and power in Ezekiel 37, this line reminds us that God has the power to do ANYTHING He desires! And He’ll allow us to be a part of what He’s doing! If you’re not familiar with that passage - I’d invite you to read Ezekiel 37:1-14 . . . wow!
- You turn seas into highways: Perhaps the most familiar and compelling illustration used in this song is the parting of the Red Sea. Exodus 14 tells us that the LORD will fight for us; we need only be still. The Red Sea didn’t stop an army of men, women, children, and chariots from moving forward and nothing in this world can stop God’s plans for us today!
- You’re the only One who can - With God, nothing is impossible. NOTHING! Luke 1:37
Regardless of each of our own personal musical preferences, the Word of the Lord concerning our redemption and our victory is for each and every one of us! So, I invite you to join with me in declaring that NO god is greater than the one, true God - He is great and greatly to be praised!!
I searched the world
But it couldn't fill me
Man's empty praise and treasures that fade
Are never enough
Then You came along
And put me back together
And every desire is now satisfied
Here in Your love
Oh, there's nothing better than You
There's nothing better than You
Lord, there's nothing
Nothing is better than You
I'm not afraid
To show You my weakness
My failures and flaws, Lord, You've seen them all
And You still call me friend
'Cause the God of the mountain
Is the God of the valley
There's not a place Your mercy and grace
Won't find me again
You turn mourning to dancing
You give beauty for ashes
You turn shame into glory
You're the only one who can
You turn graves into garden
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You're the only one who can