Recently, I had the privilege to lead the song "Lord I Need You" by Matt Maher with some friends of mine. That song has been a favorite of mine for a long time--long enough, at least. I love how it boldly approaches God in confession that we're not enough, that it admits dependency, which is hard for our prideful souls.
As that particular day went on, the chorus played on repeat in my head. "Every hour, I need You." Louder than usual. Differently than usual. Outside of the context of the song, which is meant to be a confession of sin and temptation.
This time, it was the "every hour" part that rang loud.
Every. Single. Hour.
Not just the times we need forgiveness from sin.
Not just the times our lives are grim.
Good times, too.
When we do get it right.
Do we really understand what it means to need Him every hour? Sure, it's true. But something about this particular phase of my life is making me really get it in a way I hadn't before. But I've gotta back track first.
I'll be the first to admit, though I hate to do it, that even though since 2009 I have genuinely wanted to know Him more, doing that hasn't been well-executed. Not by a long shot.
Getting to know who Jesus is... well, it often entails unlearning things you thought you knew.
I came to Him with tons of idols, many that I didn't even know were idols. It's astonishing how easily idols can mask themselves with parts of your own life. It's a bit frightening to realize how easily they can deceive you into thinking it's them you need and not the Lord, while still letting you believe you rely on Him, when really you rely on them.
I'm not gonna say that I don't ever have idols. I don't like it, and I don't want them there, but every one of us has something trying to insert itself into God's place in our hearts. But where I am now is vastly different from where I was in 2009.
In 2009, I had a million thoughts about how my life was supposed to go, a million dreams that I wanted to fulfill. There were people in my life I thought I could rely that I couldn't, others I thought would be there forever but are gone now. I thought by now I'd have a bachelor's degree in music education and be teaching at the school from which I graduated. I thought surely I'd be married. Neither thing happened.
Fast forward to last week. My drive axle gave out after crossing the county line. I stood on the roadside for an hour or so with barely any reception, calling for a tow truck, waiting, and hating that this is what it had come to. One faulty chunk of metal weighing on the top of an already huge pile of life change happening... it forced me to evaluate my entire life.
I'm 25, single, and living at home (a combination nobody likes). I work part time tutoring math (a job I can't stand) while trying to record an album in my spare time (which has been impeded by being sick again and again). About a month and a half ago, I finally realized what I'm supposed to do with my life, so I'm going back to college to earn a bachelor of arts degree in Christian studies with a worship leadership emphasis. That will probably take me away from the place I am and have always been, but now I'm finally okay with leaving home again, going where I need to go to do this thing that God wants me to do, whatever that means, wherever that means, whenever it happens.
Point here being, nothing is what I thought it would be. Yet even with accepting the direction He actually wants me to go in, I need Him. I needed Him to show me what to do, and I need Him to show me how to do it.
But too often, "need" doesn't mean what it ought.
Too often, I say these words from this song, when I really mean, "I need You to get me through this, or to help me accomplish this, or help me to gain this."
Too often, believing in God is just a means to an end. We only need Him for our purposes. What about His purposes?
Too often, we don't realize how much we need Him just to live.
Too often, we don't realize that this need extends to every moment of our lives, broken down on the side of the road or driving headlong into His plan for us.
Too often, my lips speak my constant need, but then my actions reflect a heart that abandons Him when I'm done with Him, which is completely ironic because one of the biggest things that has kept me from doing what I'm meant for is fear of abandonment, fear that He won't be there, that He won't see me through, because others haven't. But He never abandons us when we need Him, and we always need Him.
When I'm confused, I need Him.
When I get it all, I need Him.
When I'm lost, I need Him.
When I know exactly where I am, I need Him.
When I'm alone, I need Him.
When I'm not alone, I need Him.
When I'm on stage, I need Him.
When I'm in the crowd, I need Him.
When I'm in sin, I need Him.
When I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to, I need Him.
When I hate everything, I need Him.
When I'm okay and better, I need Him.
When I'm single now, I need Him.
When I'm with someone, I need Him.
Every. Single. Hour. I need Him.
I'll need Him as much here in Kentucky as in Maine, as in Florida, as in Wisconsin, as in California, as in Canada, as in Uganda.
Rich. Broke. Full. Hungry. In every condition, I can be content because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He is the only reason I can do anything anywhere at all. If things had gone the way I thought they would, it would have been because of Him. But He had other plans, and I need Him for that, too.
Heck, even with my drive axle falling apart, He had plans for that. I was originally going to sit down underneath a waterfall and journal my heart out. Instead, He had me standing on the side of the road shelling out money for a tow, and realizing He was still gonna take care of me.
And let me tell you: it's moments like those when you have the greatest opportunity to be grateful and faithful. Grateful for what He has done and who He is, and faithful to Him when you don't understand what He's doing or why because we know He is faithful to us.
But really, knowing who He is, and trusting in His promises--that goes beyond need. That is desire. That is the important thing. It's not just coming to Jesus when we desperately need Him to fix something. It's keeping Him with us because we want Him there. Yes, we do need Him, but do we want Him?
His plan for us was and is to express the vast dimensions of His love for us. That's what we're meant to do, and we do that best when we empty ourselves of us to make way for His love to bring us to life, set us on fire. But the thing about love is that it can only happen when we go beyond need and into desire.
There's another lyric that really gets the point across to me...
That hurts. But that's what we do. It's so easy to use people to fulfill some need we have, but forget about needing the people we have because they're good for us, and because we want them in our lives... and I think we do the same with God.
So just take a moment. Remember His goodness. Remember His sovereignty in the good times and bad, successes and failures. We need Him. I need Him. Every single hour. And guess what. He will always be there.