No, I’m not ready to throw in the towel after one post, and no I’m not dreading this posting, but if I’m going to blog about Rich Mullins music, Awesome God has to be in the mix, so let’s get it over with. Read on to find out why I say it that way…
It was his biggest song, the one everyone in Christendom knows. The song that made him a star in his own right. But, at least for awhile, it was the song he liked the least. Of course, I’m talking about Awesome God. Hard to believe that one of the modern classics of Christian Hymns, Rich really didn’t like much. I think he liked it when he wrote it, and I think he came to like it again later in his career, but he grew tired of it for a long time in between.
In Ragamuffin, there’s a concert scene shortly after Awesome God took off and became a hit, where Rich sits down and says “Okay, let’s get this over with” and starts singing the song. The song is beloved, but Rich, at least for awhile, sang it begrudgingly. Why? It is a well crafted song, and the music is great, so what did Rich have against it? When you look at Rich’s life, you see an enigma, he didn’t want the celebrity, he didn’t want the limelight. He wanted to write, sing and talk about God. What Awesome God did was catapult Rich in to a world he didn’t want to be a big part of. And in someways, the success of Awesome God fueled his insecurities, his struggles. Rich struggled with the fear of abandonment. The reasons for it are laid out in the movie well. A part of him loved the attention he got, but with the attention, the people, the fans, there was a great sense of fear of it all going away. I believe Rich would have been more than happy to be the guy playing to a couple hundred people tops at retreats and small churches, never setting foot in a giant arena. But Awesome God changed the game.
There’s a saying “Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it”. How often do we strive for a dream, to get it and find out… Oh this isn’t what I thought it would be. It seems like God’s plan for us is always at the opposite end of the spectrum from what we think we want. King David didn’t set out to be king. Yes he was anointed King by Samuel at a young age, but it wasn’t his goal, and if we look at his life from that point, until he was Crowned, he didn’t go about life in pursuit of the throne. When he did get there, even though it was his calling, he was caught off guard. How often David fell from grace, he messed up, hit rock bottom. We often think when things go wrong, it’s because we’re not where God wants us to be, but what it means, often, is that we loose focus. We get distracted by the call, the position, the celebrity. And when we take our eyes off God, we fall.
Our God is an Awesome God. He can lift a shepherd to the throne, the son of a farmer to the top of the Christian charts. And when we mess up and we fall from grace, He reaches down to us, in the mud and mire, picks us up, cleans us off, and says “I love you, let’s do it again”. Pursuit of the call of God does not mean a life of ease, and failure does not mean the end of the road. The Gospel is never more clear than when the fallen get back up.