Archive for March, 2013

He Loves Us.

Music is always playing in my home, car, head…anywhere I can hear it. I’m not a music aficionado. I don’t listen to new, unheard of bands so I can impress my friends. I usually learn to like an artist way after everyone else does. I stick to my favorites, and play them over and over and over…and over.

Lately, I’ve had The David Crowder band on constant play. That is, when I’m not listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack or the Showtunes Pandora station. Not long ago, I didn’t care for Crowder, for no particular reason. I just didn’t dig him. That changed for me last year, when Michael and I watched the Passion conference online and we saw the band perform together for the last time at Passion. It was mesmerizing, because it was so obvious that the men on the stage LOVED making music. Yes, they loved worshipping, that was obvious, but they seemed to really have fun playing instruments and singing and the way the notes and the words came together to glorify God. It was inspiring to me to watch them. I began to think about whether I was really enjoying the process of making music when I sang, or if I was just singing. I don’t play an instrument. I mean, I know how to read music, and I can pick out a tune on the piano, but practice really does make perfect and that was my downfall. So I just use my voice, such that it is, and while I’m just a church singer at best, I want to make sure that I’m truly loving the process of singing and conveying the message through the song.

Of course, David Crowder’s best known song is “How He Loves”. If you’ve listened to Christian radio at all in the last several years you’ve heard it. The chorus says, “He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. Oh, how He loves.” I didn’t want to like that. It was too repetitive. But then you listen to the verse and the bridge and they’re filled with beautiful language that form a love poem about how much we are adored by our Father. The simple chorus is a great contrast to phrases like, “We are His portion, and He is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.” Those words give me chills.

Now I know I’m late to the party on writing praise for this song. I know it’s been out for several years. I know everyone is kind of over it by now. But here’s the thing: although I’ve known it for years, it has recently become new to me. Our choir is learning an arrangement of it, and I’ve been asked to sing the solo. When I was asked to sing it, I wanted to jump up and down and fist pump the air, but I didn’t. I stayed cool and said, “Oh yeah, I know that song.” I was excited because in January, when Crowder sang it at Passion 2013, I heard sixty thousand voices singing those beginning lyrics, “He is jealous for me…” and it shook me. Everybody knew it, and everybody was so completely aware in that very moment how much we are loved by God. It was a moment I’ll never get over.

So fast forward to this week: Wednesday night, we were singing it in choir practice and I was cruising along through the first verse and I sang these words, “All of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory”. Just typing that right now makes me stop. ALL OF  A SUDDEN. When I think of that phrase, I think of someone jumping out at me. Boo! All of a sudden. Or if my hand slips and I drop something. All of a sudden. The phrase evokes an instant reaction. It makes me think about being startled, or even scared. Maybe shock is a good word. You get the idea. So when I think of things that happen all of a sudden, they’re actions. But this says that all of a sudden, I’m no longer aware of the things that are wrong with me, or the circumstances that I don’t like, or the things in my life that I let bring me down. My AFFLICTIONS.

I think sometimes we love our afflictions. We don’t LIKE them, but we secretly love them, because if we didn’t have them, we’d have nothing to talk about to our friends and family. I know I’m guilty of this. I have heard myself say, “Well I….” and then share about how hard things are for me right then. I always leave those conversations disgusted with myself for doing that, because I don’t like it when others do that to me. Yes, I know this is really honest, but I know you all know what I mean. I think we identify ourselves with our afflictions and we get so distracted from knowing who we are in Christ and forget that our identity is in Him, because wearing our afflictions means that we can have conversations and get attention. (I might as well just show you my journal, because I’m writing to myself here.)

Wednesday night, when I was singing those words about being instantly so aware of God’s glory that I was completely unaware of my own problems and pain, I found myself filled with a huge longing for that very thing. My heart was screaming out, “YES! That’s what I want! I don’t want to wear my afflictions anymore like an ugly dress. I want to see nothing but His glory!”

Then the next part brings me great comfort and dazzles me at the same time: “And I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me.”

When I’m stunned by His glory, and made completely ignorant of my own issues, I can see how beautiful He is. When I’m focused on my junk, I see parts of Him when He allows me to see. I miss the whole picture of how beautiful He truly is. And then how GREAT HIS AFFECTIONS are for me. Affections, with an S! He has multiple affections for me! I’d be thrilled with just one! I love the word affection. I feel affectionate toward my children. I show affection to my husband. It’s a sweet, loving, giddy feeling sort of word, that we use when we are just over the moon about someone. To know that God not only loves me, but feels loving toward me, takes my breath away.

I don’t deserve it. I know I don’t. But if I dwell on all the reasons why, I begin to focus on those afflictions again. So I choose to focus on His beauty. I read somewhere that yes, we are sinners, but God sees us as saints. So, if we continue to refer to ourselves as sinners (although we are), if we associate ourselves with that title, we will continue to sin. If we change how we think of ourselves, if we associate ourselves with saints, then our focus in on how He sees us, which changes our thought life, which changes our behavior. I know that’s kind of chasing a rabbit, but I’ve always liked that reasoning.

He loves us. Oh, how He loves us.

I’m changed by that very thought today. I pray it will continue to change me, comfort me, and become my identity. I want to wear His love like a beautiful garment. I want my praise to be what I put on every day because I am living and breathing worship to Him. I want everything to be eclipsed by His glory.

I pray you know how much He loves you too.


March 9, 2013 at 4:28 am 1 comment

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