(This is the latest iPod Devotional that appears each Monday at theFish.com)
One of my peers recently noted that “getting old is not for sissies”. Indeed. Even if you escape personal difficulties you will undoubtedly have family and friends who are going through physical, emotional and spiritual trials. One of the songs that I default to when I am walking through valleys with others is from singer/composer Rich Mullins. The song is from his CD called Songs and it is simply titled “Hold Me Jesus”.
Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small
Right now I am in a pretty good place in my life and journey with Jesus. But then I started thinking about the many friends and loved ones who could relate completely to those lyrics in their current situation. And I can certainly remember seasons of my life when those words accurately reflected the condition of my soul.
And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart
And I remember how I used to respond. I would deduce it was my fault and I would decide that I had to do something to bolster my faith. I had to read more verses or do a study or pray more or believe more. But the answer was far more simple and the chorus by Rich Mullins nails it.
So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace
I need to quit flailing and trying so darn hard to be righteous. Hold me Jesus. Won’t you be my Prince of Peace? I have started praying a prayer that is simple and profound.
“God…would you love me today?”
And He does. But I remember how I used to think that I had to “do stuff” for God to earn His favor and receive His love and peace. For those of us “doers” who absolutely must do something my friend John Lynch outlines three things that God says you can do from his outstanding Romans messages.
1. Believe me and trust my life in you
2. Let me draw close to you and love you
3. Let me love others through you.
That’s it. I have made it so stinkin’ complicated and religious for so many years. When I do those 3 things I find myself humbled. I worship. Those actions cause me to submit, sin less and want to obey from my heart. Commitment comes out of gratitude and not teeth gritting compliance.
Why did I fight this amazing grace and His unconditional love. Rich Mullins nails that too.
Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees
That was me. Hanging on to the familiar malaise of self-effort instead of surrendering and accepting grace and freedom. Rich Mullins is now with the King of glory and the Prince of Peace but his ministry continues around the world and around the park today. Next time you are flailing and striving to please God why not try that little prayer.
“God…would you love me today?”
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11, The Message)