Driving home from our weekend visit with family last night, we were listening to my iPod on shuffle. The song “This Road” by Jars of Clay came on. It seemed appropriate since we were driving down the highway and the majority of the 4-hour trip is on one two-lane highway that runs between the Columbia River and some steep cliffs. The night was dark but the road was dry and clear. The headlights of the car lighted our way.
I’ve been pondering, as part of my Post-a-Day 2011 challenge, to dub this Music Monday. But then I thought, I already have Recipe Friday and Psalm Sunday. Maybe I shouldn’t add another constraint on what I post on a given day. But then when this song came on I knew Music Monday was what I wanted to do. I realized that some structure to this blog is a good thing. So starting today, each Monday I will pick a song (or maybe a band) to write about.
This Road by Jars of Clay
All heavy laden acquainted with sorrow
May Christ in our marrow carry us home
From alabaster come blessings of laughter
A fragrance of passion and joy from the truth
We were not heavy laden on this trip; rather we were feeling joyful after a fun-filled family gathering. We were also happy that the weather was cooperative. So often winter trips through the Columbia Gorge to eastern Washington involve snow and ice that make driving treacherous. But still this verse brought a tear to my eye thinking of the fragrance of Christ’s passion for us; a tear of joy that comes from knowing the truth, but also of sorrow from knowing that not everyone I love knows that truth, too.
Grant the unbroken tears ever flowing
From hearts of contrition only for You
May sin never hold true that love never broke through
For God’s mercy holds us and we are His own
A heart of contrition and humility is, I think, one of the hardest truths for many people to grasp as they come to Christ. But I love the prayer in this song, “May sin never hold true that love never broke through.” Our sinful nature would like us to believe that God’s love is not enough to break through and lead us to a heart of contrition. But it isn’t true! God’s love and mercy are enough to make us and hold us as His very own.
This road that we travel may it be the straight and narrow
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day through
This verse reminded me of a passage in Matthew in which Jesus was talking to His disciples. He said:
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.
Many people don’t like to think about the highway to hell; they prefer to think that everyone will go to heaven. But Jesus was very clear that we must travel the straight and narrow road, and that it won’t be easy. But as we travel that road, and seek the narrow gate, He will give us peace and grace. Just as the Israelites were guided by a pillar of fire at night, so God’s refining fire will guide us to stay on the narrow road. The world would like us to think that we are missing out on so much by avoiding the broad road, but all that is there is pain and suffering without the peace and grace of God.
As you travel this road, may God give you peace and grace all the day through. May His mercy hold you for you are His own. May your heart be filled with laughter and joy from knowing the truth of Christ’s passion for you.