In 1995, Jars of Clay hit the Christian music scene and brought us an album of music that was different from most Christian music at the time. I was grateful for this and loved what they were doing, as did, apparently, many people, and as a result, we were subsequently subjected to every youth group in America trying to sing Love Song for a Savior, which after all is said and done is not the worst thing to ever happen to my ears. But it’s up there.
That said, the songs lyrics were pretty sweet.
It seems too easy to call you “Savior”,
Not close enough to call you “God”
So as I sit and think of words I can mention
to show my devotion…
I want to fall in love with you.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we express what we feel – partly because I am leading a study through my church on the concepts of worship services and the choices that go into putting a service together every week for every Sunday. How *DO* we express our thanksgiving and praise to a God Who has snatched us from the fiery pit and set our feet a-dancin’? Sometimes, words completely fail us and we can’t do anything but throw our hands in the air… like we care an awful lot.
I’ve also recently had a good conversation, well several, with a friend who brought up this very song. He was laughing that it felt weird to him to use the phrase “fall in love” in reference to GOD. Like … it’s odd to be “in” love with God in the way you would say you were “in” love with a person. It isn’t the same and so to some degree, how can we use the same words?
For me, falling in love with a person is a great analogy for knowing and loving God. When we first meet someone, there is some kind of chemistry, inexplicable and intrinsic, like a gravitational pull. Maybe it’s physical attraction or something they do or say or a certain mannerism … that je ne sais quoi … and you just kinda lean into the next few steps of trying to get to be closer to that person.
Then comes the getting to know you stage and finding out who that person is, what makes him tick, what he likes/dislikes/is inconclusive on, how he chooses vegetables, whatever. And somewhere along the way you decide on whatever sliding scale you happen to use at the time whether or not there is compatibility and therefore allow yourself to fall.
With the growing understanding that God initially called and fell for me, I have come to believe that this process is much like falling in love – or at least what I remember falling in love to be from what I recall from ancient history. And the thing is that He is the perfect Suitor, not one that will stand you up or not return calls or texts and He will never tell you that He simply doesn’t love you and isn’t “in” love with you any more. He gave His life for me and doesn’t actually regret it.
But let’s also point out that the whole “Jesus is my Boyfriend” idea doesn’t work either. He is still GOD and He is still Mighty and far above all others. There is an honor and reverence that gets somewhat lost and muddled in some contemporary worship songs that take the gooey sappy love thing a few steps too far, and a healthy dose of “Immortal, Invisible… Great Ancient of Days…” etc. might be fitting.
So what DOES it mean to “fall in love” with God? Just like with a person, we discover that more and more of our time is taken up with thinking about Him, trying to understand Him, making time for Him and learning to please Him. We all know those couples who fall off the face of the earth when they start dating (maybe that’s part of the falling process?) and spend every waking and sometimes slumbering hour together. And eventually that stage ends and they are rolling their eyes at each other’s jokes and not making the same great strides at trying to make each other happy. It’s depressing.
But what cheers me up is that couple who are still in love, not always the giddy swoony kind of love, but the tried and true, test of time love where that person still matters most and they have a groove in life, knowing each other’s hearts and minds and goals and dreams, and finding ways to cheer each other on through thick and thin, ending up in the place – wherever it may be right now – where they are together and still IN love. And the great beauty of putting your love in the right place is that you can’t go wrong…