Yesterday, I started out the day on a bit of a low. On mornings like these, my brain craves instant fixes; cheery breakfast TV, sugar, caffeine, Twitter. I compromised, poured a coffee (no sugar) and read my Bible instead.
I ended up reading 1 Peter 1. Coincidentally, it was all about trials and suffering and how ultimately, in God’s timing, he would make everything ok. The verse seemed to be saying that it didn’t matter if the circumstances looked awful, deep down we needed to reconnect with a sense of divine hope, of God working out all things for our good.
Later, I walked into work and as I headed to my desk, on air, was ‘Sing your praise to the Lord‘ by Rich Mullins. I used to love that song. Or more precisely, I used to love the cover recorded by Amy Grant. I grew up listening to her music, lip syncing in front of a mirror with a hairbrush, to Straight Ahead and Baby, Baby. But that’s another story.
As I settled in at my desk with a list of things to attend to, I decided first to find some Rich Mullins on Spotify. And there it was, his album, ‘Songs’.
I had this vague recollection that Rich was a renegade, a rebel who wanted to write music which glorified Jesus but at the same time didn’t want to be a part of the commercialism of the industry around him.
And so at lunchtime, I googled and re-read the whole story. He was a man on a journey, tired of hypocrisy and tired of doing the same old thing, rinse and repeat.
Facing heartbreak and the loss of a father figure, he wanted desperately to tap into the raw power of God that he’d experienced when he walked along a beach or drove along the highway in an open-topped car and felt the wind rushing through his hair.
His raw, piano-thunked-out songs changed a generation and we sing them still today; Our God is an awesome God is just one of them.
My lunchtime googling also threw up an interesting fact; there had been a movie made about his life; Ragamuffin. I brought my day to a close by watching some of the movie and listening once more to Rich, singing the deeply painful, personal song written from the heart of his anguish, Hold me Jesus.
As I drove home much later, with Spotify pumping through the car ‘s speakers, I sang along loudly (no doubt frightening the man in the white fiesta who pulled up beside me at the lights) but I knew, that I knew that I knew, that God had orchestrated this day to remind me of one simple point; He loves me. And, when times are tough, he holds us together.
In the movie, famed theologian Brennan Manning (who’s now in heaven, along with Rich Mullins…lucky them!) had a cameo and his words were punchy and powerful;
God says to us, ‘I know your whole life story, I know every skeleton in your closet, every sin and shame, I know right now your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, I dare you to believe that I love you, just as you are, not as you should be.’
Sometimes God wants to speak to us, but he takes us on a decidedly scenic route.
For me yesterday it was hearing a song which prompted a Google, which led to a movie, which led to a song.
On tough days, it’s lovely and wonderful to know that God is still orchestrating our lives, sometimes just to tell us one thing; when life is hard, when you’re stuck, I’m still here.
In the words of the song I thumped the steering wheel home to, tonight;
Hold me Jesus
I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t you be my prince of peace.