If you are friends with me for five minutes, you’ll know music plays a huge part in my life. Not only will I sing you a song, but I might just sing sentences of randomness to you. I usually wake up and fall asleep with some sort of song bouncing around my head. One band I love is Incubus and a couple of months ago, they came out with a new album titled “If Not Now, When”. I listened to it on Spotify and then bought it. (Fab album, so different from all of their other work. I highly recommend it.)
In listening to the title track, I was immediately swept up into the melody. It’s a gorgeously written song. But the lyrics that drew me in, and ultimately convicted me. Here’s a sample:
“I have waited, dined on ashes, swung from chandeliers and climbed Everest, but none of it’s gotten me close to this… I’ve waited all my life… If not now when, will I?”
Granted, I’ve never literally dined on ashes or swung from chandeliers or even climbed a 14er let alone Everest, but I get what the writer is saying. I feel like if I wrote this, it would say something like, “I have waited, eaten at McDonalds, danced on the top of the Empire State building and climbed the Incline…” (this is why I am not a song writer…) Awful rewrite aside, I feel like the singer is trying to convey is that he’s had a lot of things happen in his life. Some of them he’s waited for. Some have been awful. Some have been the height of what this world can offer and yet, it’s not enough. There’s still a longing inside him.
If I were a preacher, I would ask for an ‘amen’.
Does this describe you? Because it definitely describes me. I would call it a season, but that would be a lie. No matter what I do or pursue, there is still an intense longing within me that doesn’t seem to be fulfilled. It’s only when I’m face to face with Jesus, in the time I spend with Him, that the ache starts to fade.
Which brings me to my point. (I have one, please refrain from being shocked.)
When, as Christians, did we let the longing dissipate? The holy hunger that was in us at the beginning of walking with Him, loving Him, pursuing Him – where did that go? Why have we decided what the world has to offer us is intensely better than what the Lord offers? Why do we insist on dining on ashes when we’re offered the bread of the Lord – which is Himself? We are getting into a bum deal if we buy into the promises of a life offered to us through our culture, ideals, politics or whatever. These things are filled with the empty calories equal to a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Tasty at first, but about twenty minutes later, you’re cursing yourself for indulging. But that doesn’t stop you the next time. Or the next time.
I know this life can be mundane. I understand that there is a honeymoon phase to every relationship. I get that no matter what type of personality we have, we get addicted to routine and what is safe. I’m living there. But it’s not satisfying.
I want something more. A revolution. Not something that starts quickly then burns out. But a commitment to everyday living. To challenging the status quo in myself and in those around me. I want to throw myself into a life that is centered around loving Jesus and loving people. To make mistakes, acknowledge them and grow from them. I need to cut the self pity and focus my eyes on what is truly important. I want to stop being afraid.
If not now, when?