Way back in the late eighties (remember them?), the Christian band I was in decided to make a demo tape of some of our songs. We couldn’t begin to afford a recording studio, but one of us had a reel-to-reel tape recorder, so we went amateur all the way. We recorded at a band member’s house in Terre Haute, starting on Friday evening and planning on recording most of Saturday. So that we could work as late as possible on Friday, and get started as early as possible on Saturday, they asked if I could stay Friday night with another friend of the band’s in Terre Haute. This sounded better to me than driving back and forth from Coal City twice on Friday and Saturday, so I agreed.
In those days I was in an inner turmoil about a lot of things. Rae Anne and I had been married just over ten years; we had two young children we were raising; and, as the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:28, “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”…though in my case it was only the one church I was pastoring. All these things tended to weigh on my heart, especially at night.
So it was I found myself awake in this guy’s apartment, unable to get to sleep on his living room couch. Sometime around 1 or 2 ‘o’clock in the morning, I got up and went to the little preacher’s room. And there on the wall of his bathroom I saw a poem, mounted in a frame.
I’m not big on poetry, but every now and then God hits me right between the eyes with one. That’s what happened this time. I stood there and read it, and began to choke up. Then I went and got my Bible, and in the middle of the night I copied the poem into the flyleaf. It meant a lot to me then, and I still love it.
I felt like it would be perfect to share, here at the end of one year and the beginning of the next. The poem is called I Am, and it’s by Helen Mallicoat. Here it is, right from the back pages of my old Bible.
I was regretting the past, and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking.
“My name is I Am.”
He paused. I waited. He continued.
“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I Was.
When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I Will Be.
When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is I Am.”
Isn’t that great? It was a great comfort to me then. I hope it is for you now.
By the way, I still have a copy of that old demo tape, digitized and burned to a CD.
And if you like music that sounds like Huey Lewis and the News meets The Talking Heads, have I got a deal for you!
So, Happy New Year! And,
Soli Deo Gloria!