As soon as I heard the opening lyrics, I wept.
I had been spending some intense, soul searching hours with some good friends who knew me well. They were helping me become more self-aware, of my heart, my life, and my God. They gave me some space to process what we had been working through, and I heard this song.
“The Riches Of This World Will Fade” carries a sobering message for a guy named “Rich”, but one that was so helpful for someone trying to understand himself. God met me through a song when my defenses were down, speaking truth into my heart with clarity and compassion, that I won’t be around forever. I readily received it, my heart having been led to this point through prayer, reading, mapping out my life up until that time, identifying key turning points, and seeking to identify what God was up to in me, and through me. It was a humbling process, but so valuable to experience.
The next line in the song grounded me back into a bigger story. “The Treasures Of Our God Remain” echo what is clearly proclaimed by many followers of Jesus that have gone on before me. Like Paul, who told the Philippians “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Or CT Studd who wrote in his poem “Only one life, t’will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last”. Or Jim Elliot who said “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose”.
The title of the song is “I Surrender” by All Sons & Daughters. Which is why I was listening to it in the first place, because there was a desire within me to have that posture of surrender before God. Hands up and open, releasing all control to the One who gave me life in the first place, whose image I was made in. And who, quite frankly, is a lot more trustworthy with my life than I am. I admit that too often I’m slow to acknowledge that, and I, the one who will fade away, ends up fighting against the One who remains forever. But as stubborn as I can be to resist, He is even more stubborn to persist, and pursue, and to lead me to what He has planned.
Maybe that’s why he gave me that discovery time with my friends, and the sobering message of a song a whole year before He led us down a different path than the one we had been traveling down. We’ve been holding on to a quote for the past few years, and its ringing more true now than ever before. The quote is “When you choose to follow Christ, it will be different than you think, harder than you think, and betterthan you think.” It has proven to be true as we keep following after Him, entrusting our lives to Him. I could fight against Him, and stupidly, sometimes I do. But His grace is greater, His patience is kinder, and His way is wiser.
That’s why the posture of surrender, even confessing that to Him with every new episode in life, is so life-giving. He calls us to surrender, not to take away from us, but to give to us, out of His generous and loving heart towards us. So I don’t have to cling so stubbornly to what I think I’ve got under control, but can trust Him to do so much better, so much more, when He’s the One leading and in charge.
If you want to take a few minutes to slow down and consider the words of the song He gave me a year ago, click here.