Here I Am Again, Lord

I wrote this in the Summer of 2010. It was originally intended to be a song, but I couldn’t work out a tune that would fit. Eventually I sat down with a friend to see if we could ‘fix’ it together and make it work with music, but I then realised that I was going in the wrong direction, and instead I needed to let it breathe as poetry. So here it is, and I hope it blesses you. It takes you through a journey that I think will be recognised by many Christians…

Long time ago
When I first heard You call me
I could feel Your joy fill my heart
And I knew You would never forsake me
Every hour of every day
I would bow before You and say
Here I am again, Lord
Here I am.

Then my faith was tested
When I lost some battles
And I lost some friends
And the enemy would scorn me
Without You I might have given in
But I loved You and I called on You
Here I am again, Lord
Here I am.

But Jesus, I let You down
Somehow I messed up
Moved my heart away from You
Followed my will, not Yours
I could have died – I deserved to
But You kept calling me
And thank you Jesus – I heard You
And on my knees I wept
Here I am again, Lord
Here I am.

Now I’m calling to You Jesus
I’ve been praying long and hard
You know my situation
It’s been going on so long
I know You hear me
I know You love me
I don’t know why You don’t answer me
When I cry from my soul
Here I am again, Lord
Here I am.

But how can I doubt when You’re faithful
And why can’t I trust when You’re truthful

I remember the days when I thought I was alone
And then I felt You here at my side
I remember the nights when my breaking heart would moan
But You wiped away the tears I cried

You never left me
Though I left You
You’re my rock
And You’re my rescue
You’re my beginning and my end
You’re my true and faithful friend
I believe You have a plan
For You are God – I’m just a man
I surrender all to You
You’re the One who makes things new
And every hour of every day
I will bless Your holy name and say
Here I am again, Lord
Here I am.
Here I am.
Here I am.

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
      You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ – Isaiah 58:9

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Belief and Understanding

I don’t know the preacher’s name but he said something last Sunday that I want to share with you because its truth struck me so forcefully. I won’t be as eloquent as he was but I’ll do my best to get his point across.

“I’m not here to explain God to you,” he said, “because I’m not able. God is too marvellous, too amazing and too mysterious. But He can explain himself. If you believe in Him then He will help you understand. But if you try to understand before you believe then you are putting a barrier between you and Him.”

I know it’s easy to scoff at people of faith who can’t explain why God would do this or allow that. But if you just for a minute accept the possibility of a Creator, then you have to immediately see how far beyond our intellect and understanding He must be. And hence how small and lacking we are in comparison. How futile it is to try sometimes, like an insect trying to figure out what a human being is all about.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8, 9 NIV)

Of course we want to understand, but let’s start from a position of humility, first understanding our limitations and His sovereignty.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10 NIV)

There is so much to learn, but there is one truth to hold in your heart, one blessing in God’s word that will transform your life and release you from all kinds of shackles.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Believe, and then be amazed and delighted by the new understanding you are given.

The Truth That Hurts

I’ll be deliberately vague about the details of this story. They don’t matter, and they could cause embarrassment to others.

Yesterday there was a light-hearted conversation in my office, concerning someone who wasn’t there, and I made a contribution. It was a small thing, and it raised a laugh as I’d hoped, and no harm was done.

Then one of my colleagues said “That wasn’t very Christian of you, Gavin!”

I was upset. I got defensive. I claimed that what I’d done wasn’t to put this person down, but to lift my friends up. I was still speaking in a light-hearted tone. The conversation fizzled away, as they usually do, and was soon enough forgotten.

Except that I couldn’t forget it because the “not very Christian” phrase kept niggling at me, convicting me.

Because it was true. I’d been negative when I should have been positive, or at the very least stayed out of the conversation.

My colleagues know about my faith, and what I showed them yesterday was the very opposite of the light of Christ. My salt had lost its savour. I let down myself, and more importantly God.

This morning I prayed about it. I repented, determined not to make such a mistake again. And I asked God’s forgiveness.

There was one thing left to do – thank my friend for pointing out my error, even though she probably had no idea how right she was.

But when I got to the office, I couldn’t do it. I’m ashamed to say it, but I think it’s true for many of us. It’s much easier to confess to almighty God, who already sees and knows all things, than to speak honestly to a friend and reveal my hidden weakness to them.

Foolish Talk

The fool has said in his heart,
“There is no God.”

Both Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 begin with this blunt statement, and I’m just going to explain very briefly today why I believe completely in this fundamental truth.

I would (and did) acknowledge God’s existence before accepting Christ as my Lord and Saviour. But even if you can’t go as far as accepting that there is a God, how can you possibly, with certainty, believe that there isn’t?

I have always had an inquiring mind, a logical and questioning mind. And I trust scientific methods and evidence. I use rational thought processes to inform and interpret my reading of the Bible, and my understanding of God. I believe that God gave me – and mankind as a whole – the desire to understand His universe.

And here is my ultimate logical reason not to dismiss God: If He exists, as Christianity understands Him, then He is the Creator of the universe. By definition, the Creator is not a part of the creation, so God exists outside of time and space, and the laws that control them.

So when an otherwise brilliant mind like Professor Stephen Hawking jumps to the conclusion that the laws of physics, and specifically gravity, can explain everything, and that this means God is no longer required as a first cause, I have to wonder at how closed that mind is.

Just as a builder can enter and walk around a house he has constructed, so God can, and does, enter His creation to interact with its elements – including us. But the builder is not a part of that house, and the rules, the materials and the construction of that house do not apply to the builder. Even more evidently, the laws of the universe do not apply to God, so to try to understand Him, explain Him, or reject Him using those laws is futile – and foolish.

In the words of Paul, in Romans 1, verse 22:

Professing to be wise, they became fools.

Science is a wonderful way to explore, examine and explain the workings of the universe. But if a scientist believes that his discipline can explain the totality of creation, then he is deluded. There is a difference between science and omniscience. The difference is omni – everything.