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The Hard Hallelujah

We met our friend, hallelujah, last week (See ‘Happiness in the Hallelujah‘).

Hallelujah is praise, a form of thanksgiving, a recognition, an appreciation.

BUT -What happens when there isn’t cause to give thanks and praise?


It’s a cold, it’s a broken, hallelujah. 

Thank-you’s don’t always come from the warm and fuzzy, fulfilling, wholesome times. Thank-you’s aren’t always easy. A hallelujah can be an ironic slip of the tongue – more like a cold and broken response in isolating and painful circumstances.

Hallelujahs aren’t all happy smiles – they are the hard cries.

Yes there is Happiness in the Hallelujah, but there is also heartbreak in the hallelujah.

When you break the heart of hallelujah, studying our friend’s etymology, you’ll find the hebrew word has several elements.

Our lives are layered – they’re happy, hard, hopeful and heavy. 

The starting element of hallelujah is of the root ‘halal’. This term itself is layered:

♥ Halal as shining or emitting light – as lamps and celestial bodies do

♥ Halal as a boast, a praise, an informal bout of worship e.g.
           a rejoice or congratulation;
           a container for praise;
           a song of thanksgiving or adoration

♥ Halal as irrational and insane, stemming from a form of madness, in contrast to wisdom

The finishing element of hallelujah is then an abbreviated form of Yahweh (the name of the Lord).

Hallelujah is an expression of light, of praise, and of desperation and insanity to God.

There are deeper elements to our friendship with hallelujah, just as there are deep elements in our daily relationship to our environment, experiences, and emotions. Just like any friendship, hallelujah isn’t just there for the good, it’s also there for the bad.

If we only attach hallelujah to happiness,
we aren’t being honest.
We’re leaving a hole in the friendship.

Happiness is a term we throw around so often – we want it, we chase it, we live it, we feel disconnected from it, we think we can display it, we think it comes from things (success, people, places), we think it is many things.

BUT – What happens when happiness isn’t there? What happens when it’s hard to give thanks?

Do we lose our friend hallelujah?


When we are in a hard place, there is confusion. It’s dark. It’s cold. The world’s brokenness is consuming. The dark places are the hard holes, the rough patches in the journey.

Hallelujah shouldn’t leave our lips, ever. All friendships are bumpy. 

When you draw on the hard hallelujah, you draw on the strings of your very own heart. The song of praise is your own chords – the happy notes and the hollow notes. A hallelujah, a ‘halal‘ to God, can be positive or negative. It all depends on the heart of the spectator. The condition of your heart.

Our hearts can be hopeful. Our hearts can be heavy.

Hallelujah is a friend who provides perspective.

In the bible,  hallelujah often appears around matters of life and death.  With hallelujah on the lips, a thank-you on the heart, we can approach matters of life and death with a stable spirit.

For those who can live and die in the same spirit, the spirit of hallelujah (halal – praise – to yah – God) then there is no hesitation, there is no hole between the happy and the hard. Instead, there is hope, a hallelujah that prepares the heart to let go – whether that be to release an utterance of praise,  to release control, or to release our hold on life in our final moments of death.

In the happy and the hard, when you draw on hallelujah, you draw on light.  God is a God of Light, who will send rays into the dark holes of your heart, and replace the pains with reason to sing praise.

My prayer is that you will befriend the heartfelt hallelujahs in the happy and the hard, Xx

{To read more detail on the meaning and root of hallelujah, see this online resource:}

Respond from the Heart