A Transcript of Madeleine Sorrell’s Chapel Talk


Psalm 142:3-5

When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.

In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me.

Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me.

I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

“Hi, everyone! I’m Madeleine! When I gave a chapel talk back in the fall, I told myself that it would be the last one. But at the start of the new semester, Tommy told the leadership team that there were a bunch of open spots for chapel, and more than likely we would have to give another one. I was actually excited when I heard this. Unlike most people, I like talking in front of big crowds, and I’m not really afraid to get up and talk in front of all of you. 

“So, I’ve never been an avid listener of Christian music. I love singing in chapel and doing praise and worship at CYT, but I don’t really go into my car and put on some Christian music. And I also don’t love Lauren Daigle, which feels like a crime to say here. But I feel like I’ve heard Reckless Love over a million times, and it’s just starting to get a little old. For some reason, this week I did get in my car and just put on Christian music. It’s genuinely not something I think I’ve done before, just of my own accord. And I put on Rescue by Lauren Daigle, that has most certainly never happened before. I think Lauren Daigle is great but she is not ever playing in my car. But I was completely struck by the words, and the song has been stuck in my head for days now. If you haven’t heard the song, in the chorus she sings, “I will send out an army to find you in the middle of the darkest night. It’s true, I will rescue you. I will never stop marching to reach you in the middle of the hardest fight. It’s true, I will rescue you.” She’s singing from the perspective of God talking to us, telling us that He’s going to rescue us, that He’s sending out an army for us. 

“Now, I am definitely a movie, book kind of person. I love to watch movies and tv shows, and I get very very invested in characters and shows. And when I think of someone sending out an army to find someone, of them never stopping looking, of someone being rescued like that, I think of these superhero characters. I think of the Katniss Everdeens and the Captain Americas. The kind of characters that are strong and don’t ever give up. And when I think about someone who would be worthy of that, someone who deserves an army to come after them, I certainly don’t think of myself. It’s a crazy thought, that anyone would put so much effort into finding me, into rescuing me. That kind of love is almost unimaginable. It’s incredible, really. That someone could love me so much, love anyone so much, that they would send out an army, that they would march night and day just to help me. It reminds me of a movie, some crazy movie moment that could never happen in real life. I’d like you to take a second to actually imagine this. Can you think of any person in your life who has the ability to send out an army for you, who would march day and night without ever stopping just to reach you, can you think of someone who loves you enough and whose love is powerful enough to do that? Now, I think there are people in our lives who care about us more than we know and who would do everything in their power to help us. For example, our parents. But how many of these people can raise an army, can march endlessly for you, can reach you at your darkest point? That type of love, it doesn’t seem real. And to me, at least, I can’t imagine myself worthy of it. 

“But it is real. God’s love is that large, that strong, and it’s for us. For each of us. God doesn’t pick and choose which one of us He loves, He doesn’t send out the army for one but not for another. He’s not trying to reach the heroes of our generation, the famous people, He’s trying to reach you. God’s love is always with you and He loves you more than you can imagine. God loves us so much that He’ll never give up on us. No matter what we do, no matter how far we turn away from Him, His love can still reach us, He is still marching towards us. God’s love is enduring, it lasts beyond any hardship, any failure, any sin, and any obstacle. And His love isn’t contingent upon your faith. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, or what type of journey you are on, He is still marching beside you, loving you more than you can know. 

“But all of this feels silly and repetitive to say. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment, how many times have we listened to a chapel talk, and it’s changed nothing about our daily lives. How many times have we tuned out a chapel talk, using it as an opportunity for a brain break. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told God loves me, but often I leave chapel thinking, “great, God loves me, but that’s not really gonna help me get through the next class, the next test.” Hearing these words, having people tell you over and over again that God loves you can only reach you so much. And it does nothing to actually make you feel this love. I can sit up here for twenty minutes just telling you over and over again that God loves you, but I bet pretty quickly you would tune me out. And then you’d go back to class without really hearing any of it. And it’s easy for me to stand up here and tell you all this and for you to believe it when life is going well for you. But when you’re struggling, when you’re in the midst of your hardest fight or your greatest struggle, God’s love can often feel a million miles away. I will be the first to admit that often I feel that I am banging on God’s door, but there’s no response. So how do we feel God’s love? How do we take everything we hear in chapel and put it in our daily lives? How can we know that God is constantly reaching for us, trying to help us? 

“I have always been the type of person who didn’t really take it seriously when people said God spoke to them. When people came and gave chapel talks and said that they prayed and God put a message on their heart. Or that people will pray about their future, like what college they are going to, and God answers them loudly. I would love to hear the voice of God telling me where I’m meant to end up. I would love to have that incredible experience of being given the answer when I ask for it, but I’ve never really gotten that. But this song by Lauren Daigle has been stuck in my head for weeks, and I had never actually listened to the whole song until this week. And when I was trying to write this chapel talk, it was the only thought going through my head. Now, I don’t know if that was the voice of God, but maybe it was. Maybe it was God’s hand reaching out to me in a way that I’ve never noticed before. In a way I haven’t been open to. 

“So my message to you today is two-fold. One, be open to the love of God. Be open to the chapel messages and the little signs from God that we rush through in our daily lives. Be open to the idea of being a new person in God. Don’t leave chapel without any sort of wisdom or insight gained. Don’t block it all out just because you’re scared or you think that you are unworthy. I encourage you to sing in chapel. God isn’t going to love you less if you’re pitchy. When they’re trying to get all of us to participate or be a little bit more attentive in chapel, don’t brush them aside. Open yourself up, even if just a little bit, what could it hurt? And maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel God reaching toward you. 

“My second message today is simple. God loves you and His love is more powerful than you could ever imagine. The verse for today has been one that’s stuck with me since I was in middle school. It might seem depressing, but I think there’s hope in the verse. That God doesn’t turn His back when other people do. That God is our refuge, our safe place to return to. That He is there in the midst of our problems, in the midst of our sadness and anger. This Psalm has been a very large comfort to me over the years because while I was busy comparing myself to others or being afraid of missing out, God was there. God was rescuing me, offering me refuge and rest, and most of the time I didn’t even know it. And He offers it to each of you as well. You are never beyond the reach of God’s love. You are never too broken or too damaged for God to turn his back on you. In Him, there is refuge and love, a love that is stronger than anything we have experienced. A love that will reach you day after day and will continue to fight for you. I know that when you’re struggling and when everything just seems stacked against you, it’s not always the most natural thing to go to God first, but know that there is no struggle big enough that will stop God from being with you. In the midst of the stress of second semester and the craziness of this season, God stands firm, reaching for you, every day. He’s there for each of you, even if you don’t feel it, especially if you don’t feel it. 

“So as you go throughout your day, be open to the miracle of God’s love, and remember that He loves you enough to raise an army, He loves you enough to spend night and day marching to you, He loves you through every moment, and He is reaching out to you, waiting for you to answer His call. Thanks!”