Get out of here
You crazy voice
You’re the devil
Not my Father
Or some evil
Flesh desire
Let me be
I am free

Back in the dim and distant past known as last year, upon its rerelease yours truly wrote a review of contemporary Christian music pioneer Oden Fong’s 1979 classic record Come For The Children. Not so much a concept as timeline record, as Fong detailed life on earth spent following Christ as Lord and Savior prior to His return he noted, in the song “Crazy Voices,” how satanic and worldly distractions do their best to lure believers off course, with predictably disastrous consequences.

In a world seemingly gone completely mad, one where instant sports millionaires claim oppression while hellhounds murder innocents for the crime of concert attendance, what is good and acceptable finds itself drowning beneath torrents of vile social media and public discourse rage. The anger over what is happening is understandable by anyone with a heart. The expressions and ideas set forth to prevent future horrors are regrettably often as steeped in lunacy as the acts bringing on these outbursts, for they fail to address the root cause of evil, namely humanity’s inhumanity. Acts of violence are seemingly paradoxically properly addressed solely by an act of violence: a lone figure nailed to a bloody cross so none need descend from this earth into perpetual utter isolation and agony. We do not need more gun control. We need more Spirit-led self-control.

The crazy voices surround us all, sometimes screaming and sometimes whispering their lies. They proclaim they have the answers, the solutions to prevent future evil played out by bullets sprayed about, or bombs or transportation vessels or whatever weapons are available used with murderous intent. They have neither. The only answer is holding on to Christ’s nail-scarred Hand, emulating as best we can in our stubborn state of rumbling fumbling tumbling stumbling bumbling imperfect humanity Jesus’ love. Nothing else works.

Nothing.

This past Sunday marked my fifty-eighth anniversary on this planet. As birthdays go it went all right; a far sight better than has been the unfortunate norm the past several years. Skipping the gory details, suffice it to say the acronym ASB has oft been used to describe another birthday. I add that if you genuinely need me to spell out what the S stands for, you are quite the innocent little waif.

Not that this year’s birthday was entirely minus angst and anxiety, with a dash of aggravation plus animus thrown in for good nature. The days leading toward the event featured several unpleasant moments on multiple fronts, this coming to a head one afternoon when a workplace incident left me quite angry and not a little frightened. I was not a happy camper.

Related to this, it’s sadly noted a lot of people I deeply care about have been wading through some deep mire lately. Relationships, employment/financial struggles, you name it. With no disrespect meant to the divine, it has been one of those times when individually and collectively it has been wondered aloud whether God is out on an extended cigarette break and His answering machine isn’t accepting any more incoming messages. People, good people, are hurting. Bad.

Jesus told His disciples that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, the mountains would obey their command to move. Many of us have faith, yet it seems as whoever may be ordering the mountains about as of late has decreed they fall on top of us. When you are angry and scared; when you keep crashing into dead ends in your job search, when your love life consists of striking out before you can so much as emerge from the dugout, when your loved ones (as Terry Scott Taylor so brilliantly put it) mounted up like eagles but now are dropping like flies, when you see the loudmouth cretin down the road luxuriating with the gorgeous spouse and perfect kids and well lined bank account while you have none of the above … yes, you do start to wonder, even with promised eternity in Christ, what’s the deal. And, how are we supposed to deal with a bitter, seemingly endless losing streak.

Sometimes the only way to deal is burying our face in Jesus’ bloodstained robe and crying our eyes out, asking for comfort and asking Him why. We know the Scripture about how now we see through a glass darkly, but there are times when it seems like the glass is shattered and its shards are slicing us to ribbons. We just want it to end. We need tangible relief. We need something we can grab onto.

The other night, following the aforementioned afternoon when elements both longstanding and sudden were kicking the stuffings out of me, what came to me as a lifeline was a song from over forty years ago.

It was a song straightforwardly declaring faith’s fundamental, calling the seeker home to the One who loves him or her.

The song reminded me of the joy I once knew as a new believer, bursting with love and joy and terrible naïveté about how in so many things not only did I not have the answer, I most likely didn’t so much as have the question right.

It reminded me that through the years, through the high and lows, the doubts and fears, the anger and tears, as well as through all the moments when I felt God’s presence in every fiber of my being, Jesus had remained faithful.

The song reminded me that even in the hurting times He has been and is there, His seeming indifference an illusion belayed by the truth that this, too, shall pass even though in the immediate it hurts like hell.

It reminded me that there is an ending to all this, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with whispering, “Come quickly, Lord; I’ve had enough.”

The song reminded me to trim my sails and turn my ship to the Lord.

It was quite the pleasant early birthday present.

I’ll take it.