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07 June 2008

Take Me Back

I was reminded of the old (1975) Andre Crouch song "Take Me Back" the other night during the altar service at Landmark Apostolic Bible Church in Rockport, IN.

Nobody sang the song at that time; it just came to my remembrance. So often in my life it's been these older songs that I grew up hearing and singing, which resonate deep in my spirit. Here are the words that still speak to me:

Take Me Back
-Andre Crouch

Take me back,
Take me back, dear Lord,
To the place,
Where I first received You.
Take me back,
Take me back, dear Lord,
Where I first believed.

I feel that I'm so far from You Lord,
But still I hear You calling me.
Those simple things,
That I once knew,
The memories are drawing me.

I must confess, Lord, I've been blessed,
But yet, my soul’s not satisfied.
Renew my faith,
Restore my joy,
Then dry my weeping eyes.

I tried so hard
To make it all alone
I need Your help
Just to make it home.

Today, and every day, we need to renew our relationship with God. He is looking for an authenticity from us based on a continuing renewal of the fervor we first had at our initial conversion. The simplicity of our faith and our humility combined with the simplicity of the Gospel resulted in an authentic conversion.

The words “renew my faith, renew my joy, then dry my weeping eyes” is a call get back to the place where we first gave our will to God.

What is it about us that having come to Jesus empty-handed and totally dependent upon him we now, after being “in the Church” for some time, think we can somehow do it all on our own?

I think that there are many people, especially in their 20s and 30s, that received an initial conversion experience at a young age (6-10), but did not really get converted until later, when they were more mature. This may be why we have trouble in our young adults at times. They got the Holy Ghost at a young age, but the Holy Ghost did not get them until they were older.

It is amazing to me to witness the blessing of God on us and yet we are not satisfied in our relationship with Him because of our own self-sufficiency, pride, and vain living. It is a crutch – a trap of the enemy and the flesh to alienate us from intimacy with Jesus Christ, not a “Jesus is my boyfriend” type of intimacy that we are constantly barraged with in this self-absorbed culture we live in, but a closeness that comes from a genuine relationship with our Savior – a relationship that is deepened every day in the good and the bad that life throws at us.

C. S. Lewis addressed the purpose of tribulation in his book The Problem of Pain in this way:

My own experience is something like this. I am progressing along the path of life in an ordinary contentedly fallen and godless condition, absorbed in a merry meeting with my friends for the morrow or a bit of work that tickles my vanity to-day, a holiday or a new book, when suddenly a stab of abdominal pain that threatens serious disease, or a headline in the newspapers that threatens us all with destruction, sends this whole pack of cards tumbling down.

At first I am overwhelmed, and all my little happinesses look like broken toys. Then, slowly and reluctantly, bit by bit, I try to bring myself into the frame of mind that I should be in at all times. I remind myself that all these toys were never intended to possess my heart, that my true good is in another world and my only real treasure is Christ. And perhaps, by God's grace, I succeed, and for a day or two become a creature consciously dependent on God and drawing its strength from the right sources. But the moment the threat is withdrawn, my whole nature leaps back to the toys: I am even anxious, God forgive me, to banish from my mind the only thing that supported me under the threat because it is now associated with the misery of those few days. Thus the terrible necessity of tribulation is only too clear. God has had me for but forty-eight hours and then only by dint of taking everything else away from me.

Let Him but sheathe that sword for a moment and I behave like a puppy when the hated bath is over - I shake myself as dry as I can and race off to reacquire my comfortable dirtiness, if not in the nearest manure heap, at least in the nearest flower bed. And that is why tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.

Our problem is that we become desensitized to those “Take Me Back” moments and even brush them aside when God calls us to some personal time with Him. Jesus wants us to give ourselves to Him and surrender our will to His will. One way we can do that is to take the time to go back to those simpler times when all we had was our faith in Him and all we wanted was His presence in our lives guiding, keeping, and sustaining us.