I first heard singer Michael Card perform at a concert about twenty years ago. In addition to the music, he passed on two pieces of wisdom that have stuck with me ever since. The first was this: He said, “God cannot love you more than he loves you right now, and he will not love you less.” And the second: “God does not ask you to change before he will love you; He loves you so that you can change.” The lines have always seemed like a wonderfully concise way to sum up God’s radical grace, and I’ve quoted them many times since that night.
So I was delighted to learn that Mr. Card would be one of the keynote speakers at a conference where we were booked to perform. Of course, I’ve heard more than a few sad stories over the years of people who finally meet an author or speaker or musician they admire—only to discover the walk doesn’t come close to matching the talk. So I was even more delighted when I got a chance to meet Michael and found him to be down-to-earth, approachable, and real. And once again, he communicated some lines that are sure to haunt me for the next few decades—this time delivered through the lyrics of a song he sang at the beginning of his keynote address.
COME LIFT UP YOUR SORROWS
AND OFFER YOUR PAIN;
COME MAKE A SACRIFICE OF ALL YOUR SHAME.
THERE IN YOUR WILDERNESS, HE’S WAITING FOR YOU
TO WORSHIP HIM WITH YOUR WOUNDS—
FOR HE’S WOUNDED TOO.*
As I grow older, the fact that we live in a broken world becomes more and more obvious to me. And I never have to look further than my own thoughts and actions to find that brokenness. So I’m deeply grateful Jesus made it clear he came first for the weak, and not the powerful. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” he said. “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”…“The first shall be last, and the last shall be first,” he declared; and “He who has been forgiven little, loves little.”
And I’m grateful for artists who can give voice to these truths in a way that bypasses the memorized answers of my doctrine-numbed brain and stabs me right in my question filled heart. Artists who remind me that my faith is not so much an answer that satisfies me, but a Person who loves me. Michael Card boldly stated before he sang: “This song is as good as my music gets.” I’m inclined to agree.
* “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows”, from the album The Hidden Face of God, Michael Card