Regular readers of these humble ramblings know one thing for sure. My brain is not wired according to factory specs. So it was no surprise to me that some synapses randomly crossed and I couldn’t get a gospel song out of my mind that I had not heard in, oh, forty years. That is the curse of a mind that can’t remember a security ATM pin number but knows every word to the Mr. Ed theme song.
I suppose the trigger for digging this gospel tune out of my musty brain storage unit was thinking about the journey that Joni and I begin in earnest this Friday. Somehow that brought to mind a gospel song that was a favorite in my house growing up. I had a rather unusual spiritual environment as a youngster. My parents were not regular church goers but they loved southern gospel music. We would go to concerts in the big city of Columbus, Ohio featuring groups like the Blackwood Brothers, the Stamps, the Speer Family, the Happy Goodmans, and others. I had forgotten that little slice of family history until this song perniciously implanted in my brain. The song was called “I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now” and I can still remember the lyrics.
Well, I started out travelin’ for the Lord many years ago,
I’ve had a lot of heartache, I’ve met a lot of grief and woe.
But when I would stumble, then I would humble down,
And there I would say I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.
Well, I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey now,
Gotta make it to heaven somehow,
Though the Devil tempt me & he tries to turn me around,
He’s offered everything that’s got a name,
All the wealth I want & the worldly fame,
If I could, still I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.
There’s nothing in the world that’ll ever take the place of God’s love.
Silver & gold couldn’t buy a mighty touch from above.
When my soul needs healin’ I begin to feelin’ His power,
I can say thank the Lord, I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.
If I could, still I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now
I write this one day before Joni begins chemotherapy for her breast cancer. We have talked about the journey ahead. We know it will be difficult. When we first found out about her cancer I quoted John Piper’s article called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”. Here is an excerpt from that blog.
“It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate.”
We believe there is a reason for this journey we are on. We are praying that He will be glorified through this process. I would be less than honest if I said there is never a time when I wish the journey was easier or could be altered. I would have chosen to pass on the heartache, grief, and woe the song writer described above. There was a time when the wealth and fame were at the top rungs of my ladder of desire. But those heartaches, the grief, and the realization about what matters have molded me into who I am today. My journey toward being more like Jesus has a long way to go. Joni and I are ready for the next part of our journey together. We are, to be honest, a little frightened as we prepare to battle the giant. But we are steadfast in one thing. We wouldn’t take nothin’ for our journey now. We are going to make it somehow. And that somehow will involve the love of His people and a mighty touch from above…
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.Matt 11 NLT