Songs of My Life: Arms of Love

Music is a language that can often  express what a heart feels better than any words.

Even better when well-crafted poetry is added in the form of lyrics to a moving, compelling melody and appropriate harmony.

There are songs that have not only meant so much to me, but clearly defined moments in my life or seasons. They have shaped my response to struggles and events. They have lifted me up, comforted me, motivated me, brought new meaning and clarity or grounded my life in uncertain times.

That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to share with you a few songs that have spoken into my life and made a profound impact along the way.

Arms of Love  (Amy Grant on Age to Age, 1982)

Lord I’m really glad You’re here
I hope you feel the same when You see all my fear
And how I fail
I fall sometimes
It’s hard to walk on shifting sand
I miss the rock, and find there’s nowhere left to stand;
I start to cry
Lord, please help me raise my hands so You can pick me up
Hold me close
Hold me tighter

I have found a place where I can hide
It’s safe inside
Your arms of love
Like a child who’s helped throughout a storm
You keep me warm
In Your arms of love

Storms will come and storms will go
Wonder just how many storms it takes until
I finally know
You’re here always
Even when my skies are far from gray
I can stay;
Teach me to stay there

Written by: GARY W CHAPMAN, AMY GRANT, MICHAEL W SMITH / Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP

How clearly I remember having this song on repeat on my CD player and lying on the living room floor bawling my eyes out and praying like never before. How clearly Amy’s words matched with my struggles at the time.

I was going through a rough time. I had just finished College and had a part-time job but I was struggling financially. I was having a difficult time meeting my rent obligations and was living from eviction notice to eviction notice. I lived on two-minute noodles and corn flakes. I didn’t know where my life was headed. I had problems dealing with simple, everyday things. Today I would most likely be diagnosed with depression but, being from a strict Christian home, depression (at that time) was not something to treat with drugs or therapy but with prayer and Scripture.

And this song became my prayer.

Through it, I admitted my failures, my fears, my uncertainty. In its simplicity I found peace knowing that, even though I couldn’t see what the next day would bring, I could still rest in the truth that I would not go it alone.

It didn’t fix everything. But, as music often does, it comforted me with the knowledge that somebody bigger than me cared about me.

I still get a melancholy feeling when I hear this song. It brings me back to a less fortunate, less-awakened time. In retrospect I would say this song marked, for me, a milestone in my journey to becoming a responsible adult. Yet, it also nurtured my faith and helped me to understand that there is always a safe place in the shelter of God’s love.

The Measure of Truth

I was amused by the tweet (Don’t know what this is? Get on Twitter) by @almightygod the other day: “This tweet is true because this tweet says that this tweet is true. …”

This circular argument is actually quite common. Yet it brings to mind many questions about the very foundational truths we have trusted and still believe today.

My question is this: Why do we think what we believe is true?

And from that question, other questions arise:

Is our belief simply an interpretation of a foundational truth (which others have interpreted differently), or is it a unique and superior belief in itself?

Where does our own experience, or the collective experience of our community and/or faith tradition fit into the validation or verification of our truth?

Is there a possibility that the trust in the truths we hold dear may actually be misplaced, or founded on a faulty logic?

Do we believe what we believe simply because someone we respect highly has taught us to believe in this way?

Should we place our trust in a system of understanding which may or may not be illogical according to common reason simply because it declares itself to be (according to common tradition and historical interpretation) absolute truth?

Or should our faith be simply that: trust in what we have not seen or cannot fully prove simply because of our unique personal and corporate experience of a living and moving eternal Person, namely Jesus Christ?

God Said It . . .

I love this T-shirt!

If you can’t see the small print, this is what it says:

God said it.

I interpreted it.
As best I could in light of all the filters imposed by my upbringing and culture,
which I try to control for but can never do a perfect job.

That doesn’t exactly settle it.
But it does give me enough of a platform to base my values and decisions on.

(Original photo can be found here. The shirt can be ordered here… Click on link and do a search for “God said it”)