These lyrics are from my favorite song by Needtobreathe, a band I could fan-girl babble about for hours, but we’ll save that for next time. To me, great bands are made of two things: 1. well-writen lyrics and 2. out-of-this-world live performances. My Dad, the 70’s rockstar of the family, has been taking me to see his favorite rock legends for as long as I can remember, giving me a genuine appreciation for performers, whoever they may be.
But there’s a certain moment in a concert that absolutely thrills me, and it has nothing to do with the performers, lights or sound. It’s when the band finally breaks into your favorite song, the one you’ve been waiting for all night, and your heart leaps at the recognition. You close your eyes and your lungs explode with each word that you know by heart. Each note seems fuller and more electric than ever before, and you open your eyes to find yourself surrounded by people experiencing the exact same thing. People you’ve never met, and probably never will, but suddenly feel immensely connected to. That song that helped you through your last heartbreak, they heard it too. That song you belt out in your car, they do too. The audience moves and feels together, a true catharsis.
The song strings together so many human experiences, combining to make one beautiful, fluent sound. It’s as close to experiencing the emotions of another as we will ever get here on Earth. In a world where it’s so easy to get caught up in misunderstandings and conflict, music is the reminder that we are all constantly searching. ‘Cause we all just want something beautiful.
I do the same thing in church. Sometimes, when the time comes for everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads, I leave mine open and look around. The sight of others humbly approaching the same God I know and love soothes my heart. I love seeing the passion or the urgency on the faces of my brothers and sisters in Christ. And many times, the desperation in the faces of some cause me to join right in with them. Prayer brings us to our rawest, purist state and, let me just say, it’s quite a sight. On occasion, I see someone who is fervently leaking their heart out to their creator, and it causes me to step back to get a clearer view of faith.
I imagine that when God hears our prayers, they come streaming in like the same fluent, aching sound found at a concert. Or, at least I hope so.
The same God that knows my heart and my desires knows yours just as well. I could tell myself this each and every day, but not grasp it one bit more tomorrow than I did today. The God that I beg and plead with, you do too. The God I rejoice and praise, you do too. The God I talk to and wonder about, you do too. The God that my heart wrestles with, yours does too.
Modern “Christianity” screams, “Post Bible verses as your Facebook statuses. Be a conservative Republican. Vote against gay marriage. Hate those who do not believe in God. Do not drink. Do not have sex before marriage. Do not have non-Christian friends. Hide your imperfections. Fend for yourselves. Do good things to look good to others. Make Christianity seem appealing.”
It’s so exhausting. Our hearts are so restless and so easily caught up in earthly things. We, myself included, have relentlessly tried to dissect God and His Word into bite-sized pieces our brains are comfortable with. We reduce Him to eliminate fear, and associate Christianity with politics and rights and wrongs, simply because that’s what our tiny little heads can wrap around and relate to. We have become comfortable.
I don’t want a complacent faith. I don’t want to continue to brush off the fact that God loved me so much that He punished his innocent Son for my shortcomings and failures. All I know is that political issues, judgment and do’s and don’ts don’t put my heart at rest. However, my heart finds abundant satisfaction in the constant pursuit of my Creator and His higher purpose.
I’m praying to become unsettled. That my indifferent attitude would be replaced with a radical hunger for the Truth. That I would not get hung up on things that will continue to distract, disappoint and dissolve. That I would hit the ground running into the arms of the only One who loves me wholly and perfectly. To quote Donald Miller,
“Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder.”
And, after all, isn’t that wonder what we’re all after? Something…beautiful, perhaps?