Friday, November 06, 2009

He Will Be There

The nature of a blog like this is to give room to be fairly frank and open in a way that you wouldn’t get in the regular run of things. So if you are eating, or about to eat or have just eaten you will have to excuse this next word picture. I am somewhat verbally constipated. In fact I really mean there’s so much to release through words and ones especially written that it’s a challenge to be disciplined and stay on track with what is to be shared. So if this one rambles on and on don’t be surprised. Although something tells me that won’t be an issue, still, you have been warned.

So as mentioned, and not for the first time, there is so much I could say at this time about some significant developments in my life that have enormous bearing for life as I live it and those around me. For this season, however, I have to keep things under wraps (although thankfully I get to unload and unleash in prayer and through journaling or note-taking as I prefer to refer to the exercise). I am confident there is a time coming soon where I’ll get to share at least some of what’s been going on for so long. Until then …

One of the scary things about spirituality outside the safety of my confines and upbringing is that God really is bigger than I made Him out to be. He thus pops up in the most surprising places, or maybe they’re just surprising because I’ve not dared to believe God is greater than my small mind. That’s of course very scary because then it means that I no longer have a hold on exclusive truth as I comfortably had because of the doctrinaire that I swallowed as a child and took into adulthood. It doesn’t leave things open to the relativistic, individualistic set up that a pluralist society would want to promote, God isn’t that wild. It keeps me, however, from making cast-iron judgements on all spiritual expressions, and it keeps my eyes more keenly open for where He will express Himself.

So in a move that really surprises me, I’ve only made scant reference in this blog to Michael McDonald (oh but it is a good entry, read it, I think it’s alright). Over in the other place I’ve not been that generous to the brother either. That’s a crying shame. He really is a most gifted singer and songwriter as well as pianist/keyboardist. What I like about the brother is how generous he is in collaborating with other artists on other tracks. He’s sung with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Billy Preston, Christopher Cross and others and he’s just a generous operator – or he appears that way and that’s always important.

One particular collaboration for which he’ll be forever famous is with James Ingram on their 80’s hit Yah Mo Be There. Now I’d heard it before growing up, but didn’t pick up on the lyrics. It sounded alright at that the time, but I never really embedded it into me system. It was another pop song, so just let it go. In the last year or so, especially as I picked up interest in McDonald (not by his farm or fast food franchise) I came across the song again.

With the wonders of YouTube we don’t just have to get the official music video but as you’ll notice we get live versions as well in different contexts. Now this isn’t necessarily the best live version of the track – scoot around for yourself and you’ll probably bump into better renditions. What I like in all of them, though, is Mike’s open reference to the Deity as the one to whom they are referring who will be there.

That puts the whole song on a really interesting slant, because it’s an appeal to people who are slipping in life to reach out and call on God and He will be there. Not just as a spectator in your situation, but to get all biblical on you, a very present HELP in the time of storm. That appeal is made in the light of recognising being in a world where ‘take from each other, and give nothing at all’. How insightful are those lyrics?

I cannot say enough for the truth of this sentiment that God/Yah will be there. In these challenging times for me on so many different aspects of life, He is a very present help. He is right there. He is encouraging and challenging, prompting and stimulating, providing and amazing along the way in a manner that I could never expect even from my best friend. Just when I think I know Him, He surprises me again with another encounter through another situation. He is there. He is not there to necessarily pander to my ‘felt needs’. Nor is He there to boost my self-esteem. He is there to remind me that I am His and He is mine and my identity found in Him is a very safe place for me to be in, whatever storms rock the boat in which I’m doing this life thing.

It can only be – it is only His presence that allows me to have peace and joy in what in other circumstances would be stuff to send people over the edge. Because He is there, because he cares, because He leads, because He chastises, because He challenges, because He remains by my side when even I have given up on myself, that is more than words could ever mean to me.

So as I relax and enjoy this Sabbath evening in the company of a loving wife and two beautiful daughters, the experience of rest is heightened not just because of knowing I’ll have some kip and can chill, but also knowing that the Greatest Company of all is right there with me. That’s good news.

For His Name's Sake



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