There is an idea within Arthur Homes’ book All Truth is God’s Truth which he got from some of Augustine of Hippo’s writings. The basic idea is obvious from the title, but in summary it speaks to the belief that one can find God in unlikely places, because He permeates everything in His creation. I find this idea incredibly liberating; we can find God’s truth in places that may or may not even glorify or know Him as God. Where I have often found this reality to be true in my life is when I’m listening to popular music. I think I got that from my dad. I used to often find him on any given morning watching, listening and making commentary of “VH1 Jump Start”. We still sit discussing the motives behind lyrics, or why so many people want to hear a song about getting a deal at a thrift shop. I find God’s truth in songs that are playing in stores, on the radio, or on my iTunes from artists that may or may not know God as who He really is. Sometimes there are a few lines in a song that just jump out and grab me.
Last fall I, like any good wannabe Christian hipster, got the new Mumford & Sons album Babel within the first week it was released. The first time I got to listen to it fully was when I was on a two week European adventure with my beautiful wife Taylor. We traveled to different cities each day and even sometimes slept on trains. There is one line on the fifth track of Babel that literally broke me to tears. I listened to it over and over, lying on the hard seats on one of those trains. I was singing it far to loudly for any public setting (I’m sure you can imagine that looks I got). But at that moment I found a little bit of truth that I just did not want to let go of for quite some time. This was one of the most memorable times I found God’s truth in popular music. It was in their song “Ghosts that We Knew”. The lyrics are
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
‘Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold as long as you like
Just promise me we’ll be alright
To be honest I don’t really know the context of these lyrics. Now that I have heard it probably close to a hundred times, I do think it was actually written from the perspective of a man talking to a woman. But when I first heard it, the image that came to mind was a man crying out to God. I think at least some members of the band have a relationship with God, so it actually could be the original meaning of the lyrics. In that moment when I heard the words for the first time, God began to reveal some of His truth. I wasn’t in a dark place in life or in a place where I was afraid of something, but that simple cry of a man began to show me truth in my world.
It speaks to me of a man who is almost demanding God to keep him and his family safe. It is a cry of desperation when the world seems to be closing in, and all he has are the promises of Christ to hold on to. We may not find ourselves in a situation that breaks us down to our final strand of strength, but often we need to cry out these words in honesty. These words are humbling when we allow them to leave our mouth. There is an important truth that we need to understand, which is that God actually wants us to be desperate for Him. This doesn’t mean He is a vindictive God who will keep us in despair in order to rule over us. He actually wants us to be at a place in our lives where we realize we won’t be alright if He doesn’t stay close to us.
God will often honor this kind of humility over someone who tries to convince God to use them because they have some kind of gifting. I find myself doing this, trying to sell myself to God as if I am in an interview and I’m vying for a position in His plan, trying to convince Him that I’m the best man for the job. How ridiculous is it to try to convince God with gifting that He actually gave me in the first place! Yes, we need to come and offer God all of the talents that He has blessed us with, but it has to come from a place of absolute dependence. As Jesus says in this common verse in Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” We need to live a life of desperation for Christ.
For me, this has been a good reminder that God needs us to be dependent on Him for all things in our life, even the talents and giftings He has blessed us with. Without Him we won’t be alright. Also, sometimes we will find ourselves in times of trouble, and all that we can do is cry out to God to keep his promises. The truth is that He always will!
I’m reminded once again that we can find God’s truth in all kinds of unlikely places. God is the initiator of creation, so even when something has strayed far from him, somewhere within it there is the mark of the Creator. I want to encourage you to be mindful of the unlikely places where God is revealing himself. Take the time to uncover the mark of the Creator and not be scared of the shell the world has formed around it; maybe it will be the channel God chooses to teach you some of His important truths.