I got together with a dear friend this afternoon. As we sipped our drinks, we, in the words of Audio Adrenaline “talked about all the things that really matter most, like life and love and happiness and then the Holy Ghost.”
It was not fun. At the end she said that she was all challenge today and not much invitation. (Yup. But I love and adore her.)
It’s hard to take a bunch of challenge, even if it is prefaced with a boatload of invitation.
So, I cried.
I went home and asked Alexa to play modern hymns and I got old school hymns.
I sat there and thought and concluded that I must be post-Christian now. Not Post-Christian like one of my friends whose theology consists of a laundry list of Thou Shalt Not Have Tos, but more like the only time I can think about God without a whole bunch of bad thoughts and feelings is when I’m with the little Munchkin and we listen to songs about all the things God thinks about us and the little Munchkin either gets super excited or he settles in and gets cozy and the only thing you hear from him is the occasional contented sigh. It’s like he knows what it means to be a Child of God. Maybe he does. Maybe he knows that way better than I ever will.
I knew this day would come.
Several years ago, I was at a college ministry weekend and as the weekend progressed, I had this awful foreboding feeling come over me. One of the people I had traveled with asked what was wrong and I said “I’m going to lose my faith.” I couldn’t completely shake the feeling, but I did get a sense that night that there would be a child in my life at some point with miraculous faith and their faith would sustain mine.
And look at that.
Obviously, I can’t quantify the Munchkin’s faith, but his contentment in spite of everything and his response to songs about Jesus tells me that there’s…. something…. there.
As I pondered these things tonight, I thought maybe I should pray.
The music wasn’t helping either. Music speaks to me about every time I turn it on, so this is really weird.
Just As I Am….
Without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that thou bid’st me come to Thee
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.
I was transported back to when I was about 4 years old and Billy Graham came to Fargo for a crusade. I attended one night back then and I don’t remember anything but the earnestness and the kindness in Billy’s voice. And Just as I Am. It wasn’t a message of condemnation, nor, necessarily, of God’s “wonderful plan for your life.” No. It was more a message about Jesus wanting us.
Just as I am and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot
Oh, Lamb of God, I come. I come.
The beauty of Jesus is that you don’t have to come whole or spotless. There’s enough grace to cleanse all of it and more grace to drown in. Oh, the beauty of grace!
The verse that broke me and left me a pool of tears, my soul bare, was this:
Just as I Am though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt
Fighting within and fear without
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.
He welcomes us with outstretched arms, even in our doubt. Even when we’re convinced that He’s not good and that He’s forgotten us. He welcomes us, even when we’re pretty convinced that He has spent the past year actively abandoning us. He. Wants. Us. In spite of it all. He wants us.
I got about this far in the song and I was a mess.
Just as I Am Thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because Thy promise I receive
Oh Lamb of God I come. I come.
By this time, I believed. I came. I was a sniffling, tearful mess.
Whoever would have thought that God would use Billy Graham years after his death — and Alexa, of all things! — to change me from the inside out?
Friends, there’s hope. Jesus wants you too. All you have to do is come.