The Loudmouth Protestant

October 30, 2009

The Songs We Sing But Don’t Live

Yesterday evening, as my work in the office was coming to a close, I decided to wind down with Kevin LeVar’s cover of the worship song “I’ll Say Yes”. You know the song… “I’ll say yes, Lord yes, to your will and to your way. I’ll say yes, Lord yes, I will trust you and obey.” ((Fill in the rest.)) LeVar’s version of this song is inherently different, for me, in that it is slow enough for you to meditate on the words as you listen. In my moment of meditation, I realized that so often I have sung these words, yet I have failed to really say yes to the Lord’s will and to His way. I have failed to do this partially because sometimes I am not sure of His will and His way, but also because there are parts of my life that I am still trying to control. Oddly enough they are the parts of my life that I actually don’t want to control, but by force of habit, they are still under my control.

There I was sitting at my desk thinking about this song and the fact that thousands, maybe millions of Christians; Protestant and Catholic; Progressive and Liberal, and whatever other branches there are; have sung this song at least once in their life. Or they have sung songs that have similar concepts. The songs that invite us to lay down our burdens, surrender all, enter into His presence and bow down and worship Him, but yet and still it’s hard for us to do those things. It hurt my heart to know that I know all of the words to “I’ll Say Yes” and I can sing it clearly, but I haven’t said yes to everything. And then I remembered the words of a woman whom I now consider my spiritual mentor.

Just one week ago we had a discussion about discernment and some decision-making I have ahead of me. But as she heard me talk about the reasoning behind making these decisions, she pointed out to me that I was being ruled by logic and practicality, when God, and trusting in His plan for my life, is neither logical or practical. So she mentioned the classic hymn, “I Surrender All”. She talked about how I must have known the song since I was a child, because all Christians do. She mentioned how we know how to sing it so passionately, with our hands uplifted and our eyes closed, but nothing of ourselves is lifted to be that surrendered.  But then she remarked that we must pray to God to know our own willingness to surrender to Him. She said that the days of singing that song are over because it is clear that there are very few people who sing it and live it. But there are many people who sing it and have the desire to surrender all, but they don’t have the capacity to do so. To this she said we must pray and ask God to take that desire and give us the capacity to be willing to surrender. She said that it’s ok if you are not there yet–meaning not fully there with “I Surrender All”. God knows. But what He also wants to know is when you have surrendered to the concept of surrendering to Him. And right there, she gave me my prayer as she said, “Be ready to be ready. Be willing to be willing. Surrender to the concept of surrendering.” And that is now my prayer as often as I can remember to say it,

“Lord, I AM ready to be ready for you. I am willing to be willing to do what you want me to do. And I surrender myself to the concept of surrendering to you. Make this all real to me and not just a song to sing. Make these words real in my life. Make them real in the life of every person who I know who may have sung them without meaning, without understanding and without the true intention of saying yes to you or surrendering all to you. We don’t want to just sing the songs and not live it out in our lives. We want to sing the song, proclaim the message and show it by the lives we live. Give us the capacity to say yes to you always and to the courage to surrender to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

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