Songs have a way of becoming mementos for persons, places, events, and feelings. The weekend of May 31 is a special one for me. Let me use two songs to tell you why.
Years ago, he and I were eager to get married. But after six months of dating, he could see - ironically, better than I could - that I was not eager to marry him. Six months of hope and mounting anxiety fizzled out in an early morning Starbucks conversation when we realized it was time to give it up. But during that conversation, he was full of peace, despite the fact that he still felt I was the only one for him.
On the drive back to campus he turned up a song that explained this peace. It was from the first album of a band called Telecast.
I just need You
Til You're all I can see
You're the Lord of Lords
And the King of kings
And Jesus, You're all this heart needs
I hear the rain and the thunder
And in it hear Your voice
Crying out to me
"Come to Me you who are weary
And I will give you rest
I will set you free"
This song represented his new prayer. It became mine, too. The lesson cut hard and deep, but we learned that when we grasped at our ideal of life, no matter how golden it looked, we languished. When we surrendered it to the Lord, we fell back on a much better ideal - and peace to boot.
That better ideal is summed up in an anecdote that impressed me in high school. A poor solitary woman looks in her pantry and sees only a dry crust of bread. “What?” she says. “All this and Christ besides?”
This story, in all its simplicity, rings true. Knowing Christ is everything, and an abundance beyond measure!
For years a dominating theme in my church circles was suffering. The lessons were profound, and I’ve learned a lot about weeping, for myself and with those who weep. But I wonder if some of us, including myself, have been so focused on what we’ve lost that we forget what we have gained.
We have gained Christ.
I don’t just mean the future presence of Christ, when all things are made new. That is the crown, most certainly. But we have gained peace with God now (Rom. 5:1). We are delivered from the domain of darkness now (Col. 1:13). We have his word now - we have more Bibles than people in our house! I have a new life in Christ now, not the vicious one I would have pursued apart from his intervention. Oh, I’m so glad!
And that brings me to the second song. The joy of what we have gained in Christ is expressed in the words of this well known hymn:
And can it be that I should gain
An int'rest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?
And this is the song we sang at my wedding, my wedding with the guy who had broken up with me. Four months after calling things off, we found ourselves together again and very much in love. Having learned to walk by faith and surrender our dearest hopes to God, we were truly free to receive marriage as a gift, not an entitlement, reward, or wise calculation.
That day was twelve years ago this Sunday. In the years since, life has dealt its unpredictable blows. We know there are more to come. Sometimes the idea of them is paralyzing. I’m so grateful for the experience my husband and I had of giving each other up; I think of it and remember that Christ is enough in loss. I think of it and remember how he is behind our story. He finishes what he starts. And, I think of that song and remember all that we have gained - and all the good that awaits us.