Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fears, Steve Green and Crunchy Ice
I have the old Steve Green recording "Woven in Time" in my car. Its music is especially contemplative, and I use it for such moments. Yesterday, I was listening to the song "Whatever It Takes." Its lyrics remind me very much of one by the same title I've sung in church since I was just a little, little girl. At the bottom of this post, you can read them both for comparison/contrast. You know the one. "I'll trade sunshine for rain... whatever it takes to draw close to you, Lord..." Frankly, the lyrics always scared me more than a trifle. It didn't help that occasionally song evangelists would pause and say gravely, "Do you hear what you're singing? I want you to not sing the next verse unless you REALLY MEAN it!" And I would go silent. How could I know if I really meant it? My conscientious heart considered all the fearful unknowns and decided I couldn't sing. At some point, my pride probably kicked in, and I may have chimed in with silent "watermelon, watermelon, watermelon"s. Maybe.

I still have a lot of fears. I like to say that I'm not afraid of death, just of what may get me there. In the past, certain fears have utterly paralyzed me. I can lie in bed and imagine a gazillion possible tragedies that could befall my family at a moment's notice. In fact, I find that I'm quite talented at coming up with scenarios. Nothing like using my creativity to scare myself half to death. My children, like most mini-people, struggle with the same. "Why are you sleeping out here?" or "You went to sleep with your light ON? Why?" is often given the answer "I scared myself."

I rode through McCalla yesterday, sipping on the Coke Zero that disguised the real treasure in that Chick-Fil-A cup- crunchy ice! Steve Green sang the song, I skipped back and he sang it again. And then again. And again with me, a not very tuneful me, but me. With my whole heart, I can sing these songs now. My kids weren't along (as I like to say, "The best part of homeschooling is being with my kids all. the. time. The worst part of homeschooling is being with my kids. all. the. time." They so despise my grocery trips that they chose dishes over accompanying me. I was fine with that). If they had been along, and if they had not been distracted by their backseat goofiness, they would have piped up and said, "HOW can you sing that?" I know them.

How? Age, for one. Knowledge, for two. Relationship, for the win. I'm older, I've seen scary, and it hasn't 'kilt' me yet (as we say here). In fact, I have enough notches in my emotional gun handle to prove that in every moment of death and life conflict (and every minute of casual fear), God's grace has been present in an incredible way, and I have overcome. On the knowledge end, and beyond experiential, I know my Bible a lot better than I did at ten. My theology of grace and suffering and heaven is a lot more complete and that helps, a ton. Trust and faith must be built on truth, not "experiences" alone. I have found two life themes to say to myself when Nathan is thirty minutes late coming home or I hear a creak under the bed: 1) There is no grace for the imagination & 2) There are no lapses in the goodness of God. These are part of my arsenal, and I keep them sharp with use. But there is no substitute for relationship. The more I know Him, the more I trust Him. To contemplate handing control to anyone is terrifying. To an omnipotent Being, even more so. To a completely GOOD best friend, who's always come through, a completely different story. There are still a few butterflies that flitter about internally when I sing, but I affirm truth instead.

Steve Green: Whatever it takes
To keep me tender toward You
Whatever it takes, Lord
I beg You to do
Whatever You must lead me through
Whatever it takes, Lord … do
At times I hear your voice and try to hide
But patiently you draw me to your side
I may not always see
That Your words are life to me
So many times I’ve missed You
Help me, Lord, to not resist You
Sometimes my heart gets hard and I can’t see
That Your correction is protecting me
But as I look within
The darkness of my sin
Breaks my heart and leaves me tender
Gratefully I then surrender

The other one:
There’s a voice calling me from an old rugged tree
And it whispers
“Draw closer to Me
Leave your world far behind
There are new heights to climb
And a new life in Me you will find”
For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
And whatever it takes to be more like You
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
Take the dearest things to me
If that’s how it must be to draw me closer to You
Let my disappointments come
Lonely days without the sun
If in sorrow more like You I’ll become
I’ll trade sunshine for rain, comfort for pain
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
For whatever it takes for my will to break
That’s what I’ll be willing to do
That’s what I’ll be willing to do 

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Good words, Charity. The older song has always kind of freaked me out a little too!
Here's another similar song: "If that's what it takes" from the Issacs. Made me think of that older one we heard back in the day. This one is challenging....and so good. There's comfort and strength in knowing Him.....that IS the goal....even in truly fearful times.