By Your Side

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

 
I recently was given the opportunity to speak in chapel at Concordia University, Ann Arbor.  On Wednesdays, the format for chapel is one that features storytelling.  As I prayed about what I wanted to do this semester, God impressed upon me the importance of sharing my weight loss testimony.   The basis of it can be found in two of my previous blog posts – Worth the Weight and Still Weighting.  But while the basis for the talk can be found there, I was pleased to find that God had something more for me to learn by the experience.

 
With the different format, I opted to use a recorded contemporary Christian song instead of something out of the hymnal.  I was comfortable with that format, having used many “canned” songs during chapels when I was teaching in an elementary school.  But for this occasion, I wanted to make sure that I chose a song that would truly convey the message God had given me to speak.  I found it in Tenth Avenue North’s 2008 song, By Your Side.  Here are the lyrics.  Click on the title to hear the song via YouTube.

 
By Your Side

Why are you striving these days?  Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?  Let me lift up your face.  Just don’t turn away.

Why are you looking for love?  Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough?
To where will you go child?  Tell me where will you run?  To where will you run?

‘Cause I’ll be by your side, Wherever you fall
In the dead of night, Whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side.  They swallowed the grave on that night.
When I drank the world’s sin, So I could carry you in, And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side, Wherever you fall
In the dead of night, Whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here in my side, Wherever you fall
In the dead of night, Whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Cause I, I love you.  I want you to know
That I, I love you.  I’ll never let you go.

And I’ll be by your side, Wherever you fall
In the dead of night, Whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here in my side, Wherever you fall
In the dead of night, Whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here in my side, my hands are holding you.

 
When I am writing or preparing to speak with a particular song in mind, I will do so with the song playing in the background.  I will play it over and over, to get a feel for the words, the meaning, and the emotions that the song is trying to evoke.  As I listened to this song, I found many things I’d like to write about (and I eventually will).  The first verse focuses on our habit of trying to do things without the help of God.  The second verse talks about our inclination to run from difficulties instead of facing up to them.  The chorus (which provided the connection to my chapel talk and the verse from Isaiah 41) reminds us that God not only paid the price for our salvation, but that He is with us everywhere we go and at every moment of every day.  But in the middle of all of that comes a short thought – only 20 words in length, but they are, without a doubt the most powerful words of the entire song.  It is God speaking to us, saying…

 
“Cause I, I love you.  I want you to know that I, I love you.  I’ll never let you go.”

 
Take a moment to think about it.  How many times in your life has someone looked into your eyes and told you “I love you” and really meant it.  They didn’t say it because they wanted something in return or because they felt that was just what they were supposed to say at that moment.  They didn’t say it because it just felt right or to see what kind of response they could get from you.  They said it because it was the truth.  That person holds you in that place in their heart where only a select few are welcomed.  Who was it?  Maybe it was a special man or woman – your husband, wife, future spouse, a parent or a child.  What did you feel when you heard it?  Were you surprised?  Overjoyed?  Scared?  Perhaps the feeling has no words, or maybe it’s a combination of so many things that you can easily describe it in a short statement.  If hearing and knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are truly loved by someone here on earth is such an amazing thing, how much greater is it when the person speaking is God? 

 
We are loved by the Creator of the Universe; our omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient Heavenly Father.  And this is not merely demonstrated by words.  He is the One who sent His own dear Son to die for us that our sin would no longer separate us from Him and the fullness of the blessings He has for us.

 
We need not fear.  We need not doubt.  The love of God is powerful, available, and sufficient for all of our needs.  May we never forget nor regret hearing those words.  May His love eliminate our fear as it fills our lives in ways we’ve never dreamt possible – now and forever.

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About day1of1

Author, Speaker, Educator, Husband, Father of two and follower of the One.
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