listening to ‘Give Me Faith’ by Elevation Worship made me think today, especially since reading the article that gid linked about contemporary worship a while back.
“i may be weak / but your Spirit’s strong in me
my flesh may fail / my God you never will”
(after writing this i went to Christchurch London, and they sang about how
“in Jesus we have the victory”
then a leader/pastor came up and exhorted us to take heart and overcome with God)
more often than not, we read lines about ‘victory’ and God ‘never failing’ as ‘God never failing us’ – that God never lets us down, never lets our expectations down. we draw strength from that to persevere through troubled situations (no cabs in sight, running 2.4, exam coming up and i didn’t study etc..), which is o k, but misses the mark.
can i suggest that ‘God never fails’ can’t be read that way because God is not short-sighted and is far more concerned about us than we are about ourselves? sure, as we call out to Him for each new problem that bobs up, God hears us (and sometimes helps us with them). but more than that, God never fails to persist in working deep change in us.
when i hear ‘God never fails’, what i must remember is that God never fails to work with us on the heavy stuff – unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, lust.. the list goes on, but long as it might be, He’s there waiting to heal the parts of us that we tuck away because they’re too painful, too shameful to deal with. Stuff that we can’t tell friends, or try to push aside… God never fails to care about those bits of us that are really hurting (that’s tough love, but also transformative love).
That’s good news. Because we can all help each other through the cosmetic, surface stuff really – share some notes, give a friend a lift, a listening ear.
And we can close off the deepest stuff to each other so that we look 🆗 or 🆒 or 🆓 /🔝/ 💯, but God sees that stuff that really hurts us and keeps us from His love and He NEVER FAILS to be ready and willing and eager to work in us and make us 🆕, even if it’s gonna be long, or painful.
You have His word for it – Phil 1:6 tells you to BE CONFIDENT that God will complete the good work that He begins in you!!
so that’s what the songs mean to me. not just feel-good vibes and a more confident stride, not just a cosmetic, temporal victory, but knowing that when i am curled up and confronting the ugliness in me it’s because God never fails to push me towards real heart change, and never ever fails to walk with me through it till i become more like Jesus. that’s a victory that lasts.
*okay that’s quite long so a summary that i came up with over Whatsapp is
“my main concern is that we like to invite God in for immediate superficial change in accordance with our plans and desires and ideas of what is ‘good’
thereby mis-using or grossly misinterpreting ‘God never fails/has the victory/helps us overcome’, because i believe God’s heart is most towards the deep painful change that we shy away from – renewal & transformation
especially since sometimes God does let us ‘fail’, and seeing the deeper reason why helps us understand ‘disappointments’ or ‘unanswered prayers’
though we can of course still call on Him for the smallest of things as a child would to a father
knowing then that as our Father he knows best how to answer our calls :–) “