[notice]Musings around children’s ministry. Reflections on week 4 of 10 weeks teaching stint.[/notice]
…There is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, I cannot…
— Jeremiah 20:9
Have you ever been ministered to by something completely unspiritual? There is a secular song playing on the radio that is really ministering to me right now called “Let Her Go” by Passenger. The song is a typical, emo, indie type of song but one lyric in particular has been haunting me since I heard the song. “Only miss the fire when it’s burning low…only miss the sunshine when it starts to snow…” The whole song revolves around realising something’s worth once it’s gone. It’s not a new message, Joni Mitchell already told us that we often don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. (Keep with the pop songs). The image of a fire burning low is so evocative though. Perhaps it is just me, but I get so busy in seasons and so focused on doing life that I get exhausted and suddenly realise (often when the damage is done), how much I need to enter His rest and spend time alone with Him in the secret place. The Apostle Paul encourages us to run our races with endurance. For example, Mo Farrah is a fantastic runner but I wonder how successful he’d be if his running style involved sprints, followed by periods of rest and recovery, followed by more sprints. Instead these long distance runners learn to keep up steady paces in their races, speeding up and slowing down in response to the other runners and their environment.
The Bible says that our God is an all consuming fire and Jeremiah famously said that the Lord was like a burning fire shut up in his bones that he could not hold in. (Jeremiah 20:9). I think that that is what the Lord wants for all of us. That we be so saturated with Him and His love that we can’t contain it and have to shout it out. My pastor’s wife used to say that light doesn’t argue with darkness when it comes on. It is so invasive to darkness that it takes over completely. We were never meant to be like the foolish virgins in Matthew 25 whose lamps could not burn for lack of oil. Instead we are called to have oil to burn continuously until our Master returns. Here’s what haunts me about Passenger’s song. I don’t want to seek the Lord’s face when my fire is going out and ‘burning low’. That is like the foolish virgins who only missed the oil when it was running low. I want to be ‘burning one’ who is alight with the gospel message shining brightly for His purpose. That way, when circumstances happen to dampen the light we shine, we can trust that the Lord will fan the flame within our hearts. We can trust that as the old children’s’ church song goes, “He’ll give us oil in our lamps to keep us burning”. As we daily seek Him and grow in relationship with our Lord, we’ll never have to sing the lamentation that Passenger’s song represents. Instead we can joyfully implore Him to give us oil in our lamps and keep us burning. The Lord has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness. Let’s live life fully and never let Him go.