“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus – 40 Days Of Country – Lent 2016
Before Miley “came in like a wrecking ball,” her dad was tearing up the country (and pop) charts with his cross-over hit, “Achy Breaky Heart.” The song not only skyrocketed Billy Ray Cyrus to country music fame, it was also hist first and best selling single of his career, becoming the first country song to go platinum since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton teamed up on “Islands In The Stream” a decade earlier.
The song became so over-played in the early nineties that it was subject to any other country song at the time. In fact, a decent amount of my Old Testament education from Dr. Bruce Birch at Wesley Theological Seminary can be attributed to his “Achy Breaky Bible” class summary. In fairness, the jokes were merited, as the lyrics tell a stereotypical country tale of a heartbroken man refusing to admit that his lover has left him, as he sings, “You can tell the world you never was my girl…but don’t tell my heart, my achy break heart…”
While the song is humorous, the general thrust of the lyrics take on deeper meaning when we consider how it would sound if God was singing, “Achy Breaky Heart” about us. In God’s goodness, our creator does not force us to stay faithful. Many of us have experienced times when we felt we, “won’t be reaching out for [God] no more,” because of trials and tragedy. However, like a hopeless romantic, God never gives up on the belief that we will return, and unlike Billy Ray’s “achy break heart,” God does understand when we are disappointed, bitter, and angry. But like the father in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15, God is ready and waiting to embrace us with open arms when we return, celebrating how we were once “lost” but now are “found.”
Faithful God of hope, we praise you for the freedoms you grant us, the freedom to choose to follow you and the freedom to walk away. Guide our hearts so that we make choices according to your desires, and constantly strive to stay close to your will. Amen.