If you have watched "Animal House" you may remember the scene where Bluto is walking down the stairs in his toga and stops to listen to what, is quite possibly, the worst love song ever written. The guy is trying, but it's bad..."he gives his love a cherry with no stones, a chicken with no bones"...I mean, come on, that's just bad.
There is a contemporary Christian song that I thought was just as bad the first time I heard it..."As the Deer." You may be familiar with it, maybe not..."As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee..." I mean, my gosh, who writes this stuff. The first time I heard that song, I immediately saw images of Bluto smashing a guitar.
I've got a very dear friend that used to play that song a lot, and I admit, I didn't make any little amount of fun of him because of it. But then I listened to the lyrics, and I found the passage that inspired it, and it changed everything.
Psalm 42 is where the song was birthed: "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God. My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God? These things I remember as I pour out my soul; how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
I've had to quit making fun of the song. Martin Nystrom actually speaks to me now. I still say it may be just a little cheesy, but in a good kind of way. It's not a song that you'll ever hear me cranking up the electric guitar to, but it's a song that, indirectly, helped me through a tough time. I know what it's like for my soul to long after God and feel that God is absent. I've been there. I know what it's like to feed on your own tears day and night, I've been there. I know what it's like to remember how it used to be, when I walked among a more festive throng, and this weekend, we got a little reminder.
But I also realize that even in those moments when my mouth is dry, and all I can do is pant, there is something bigger than I am out there, and I won't find rest until I find rest there. So, no smart aleck rant this morning, just a guy singing a love song to his Creator...and keep Bluto away from my guitars.