TO CHEW ON: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:10
In his book Make Love, Make War: Now is the Time to Worship Brian Doerksen tells the story of how he came to write "Father, I want You to Hold Me." The moment the song was conceived was one of special connection to his baby daughter.
"The first of our six children, Rachel, arrived on August 8, 1988 (8/8/88!). I was both delighted and scared to death. There was a moment that I shared with Rachel on the west coast of Vancouver Island that changed everything for me. She looked up at me with those big brown eyes and held her arms out, and without words she said, 'Daddy...I want you to hold me.' This is what I always wanted to say to my earthly father...and ultimately to my heavenly father: Father, I Want You to hold me'" (p. 73).
He went on to write "Father I Want You to Hold Me." He called it "my secret song to God" (p. 74).
It was sometime later that Andy Park, the worship leader of the church he attended, asked him to share an appropriate song after someone had talked about the Father-heart of God. Brian says of that moment, "I sensed it was time for my secret song to become public (at last with those twenty people), and so I shared it" (p. 74).
A few months after that, this time at a John Wimber and Vineyard Ministries Conference, Andy asked him to play that specific song again. John Wimber came up to Brian after the meeting and asked, "Can we publish this song?" Later that year, Wimber did just that — published Brian's "private song." It was his first song to be published.
What I love about this story is how it illustrates today's verse about God lifting us up.
The concept of waiting for God to promote us gets little traction amongst even Christians in our competitive culture. Within the world of writing and publishing words, with which I am most familiar, it's all about getting seen and being active on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linked-in, the blogs). It's about creating buzz around your name, your product, your brand, about gathering followers, and building a platform. Where is God in all this promotion, I sometimes wonder. Brian's story is a refreshing reminder that He can and does have a marketing plan for the things that honour Him. He is very able to lift us up if that's where we belong.
As Brian Doerksen says in his "Songwriting Tips" at the end of this chapter:
"Let God bring you forward. Don't promote yourself and your own songs. This is a really challenging area. You could move through seasons when it is time to be bold and share what God has given you. But don't start there. Start in a place of hiddenness and service. God knows what you have written, and He is fully able to call it forward at the right time and in the right place." p. 83.
PRAYER: Dear God, You know my own struggles in this area. Today again I commit to You the things I write. Help me to never lose sight of the fact that my first and main goal is to honour and bless You — my Audience of One — with and in all I do. Amen.
MORE: "Father I Want You to Hold Me" by Brian Doerksen