Songs of the Christian Experience (2)

This is not, in fact, Paul doing the posting. This is Liz. I just forgot to sign in under my name. Actually, with some tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, Paul asked me to post this playlist, “because women are really more emotional and experiential than men.” (Which is hilarious coming from the man who writes poetry for his wife, becomes overwhelmed when singing worship songs and lovingly composes lullabies for his children.) Regardless of that little insight, this playlist is adept at reminding you of some simple truths that should suffuse the everyday christian life. Truths like, “I will rejoice and be glad, for the strength I have to live and breathe,” and “Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer who makes the woeful heart to sing.” These aren’t complicated thoughts. Rather, these are the types of daily reminders that we must bring to our minds while engaged in the menial tasks of life…like cleaning up your living room for the tenth time today.

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The one song in this set that I think is a little “deep” is Indelible Grace’s version of “I Asked the Lord.” I heard it first from a friend’s wall on Facebook and was struck by the somewhat depressing middle verses. It’s really not what you’d call a cheerful song. But in the somber words there is a profound comfort. There is the truth that God’s love for us is so constant, so unchanging, so for-our-good that he is even willing to let us be unhappy (driven even to despair!) if that is part of the process of forsaking sin and making us more like Jesus. I don’t know the story behind the song, only that it was written by John Newton. But it seems clear that Newton realized the “surpassing greatness” (Phil 3:8) of knowing and being satisfied in God. Right now I still can’t imagine what it would be like to consider “all thing as rubbish” (Phil3:8) but since the Apostle Paul was so adamant about the true joy of knowing Jesus, my goal is to reach the point where I truly can “count everything as loss when compared to knowing Christ.”  Still, no one said that journey would always be easy…which is why this song is so encouraging to me. I hope it is to you as well : )

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”

“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”

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