Tuesday, August 4, 2009

But I'm Strong.......

"The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another.

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my brother."

Mmm, mmm. Just reading those lyrics again makes me choke up and get blurry eyed. Those are the lyrics to one of my all time favorite songs, and definitely my favorite secular song that I've ever sung. In college I was in a little do-wap a capella pop group called 7BucsWorth (later ammened to 10BucsWorth) over at ETSU. My freshman year I was called in a month before school started to go to "camp" where we would learn an entire concert in 3 days and then perform it for our peers at an event called "Preview". That "camp" I later found out was basically a performing boot camp. We got up at 6am and rehearsed all the way until nearly midnight, stopping only an hour for lunch around noon and an hour for dinner around 6pm.

I'll never forget the first three songs we learned in that very first session: "I Love a Rainy Night", "Here's That Rainy Day", and "So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday". I can remember the arrangements in my head as we speak. But it wasn't until the afternoon session that a lightning bolt struck my heart in the form of a song called "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", the lyrics of which are at the beginning of today's blog entry. We got about halfway through the song and our director (Dr. Jenrette for those of you keeping score) decided to let a tiny, squeeky voiced, really high tenor sing the solo. (Consequently, the guys later nicknamed me Keebler that weekend because I was so tiny compared with all the other guys. The group was called 7BucsWorth, but I was the 8th member, so when people used to ask why there were 8 of us instead of 7, the other guys would say "Oh Keebler there is just the pocket change".) Anyway, that was my very first college solo.

Every time, EVERY time we sang that song, I was moved to tears. EVERY time I hear it now I'm moved to tears. I saw the Osmonds sing it once at an anniversary concert, and they brought out the two oldest brothers (who most people aren't familiar with) who are deaf, and they signed the song while the brothers sang it. It tore me up.

I can hear you now: "What in the world is a Worship Pastor doing getting so torn up over a clearly secular song?" Well first of all, God can use anything He chooses to point us to Jesus, secular or not. If it glorifies God, it glorifies God. Period. If it defames God, it defames God. Period. Think about that, Christian, the next time you use dirty words or treat someone like a doormat. Anyway, I know that I was once lost as can be, a sinner condemned to hell, and the worst part about that is that while I was in that state, my parents were going through a NASTY divorce, and I was leaving my beloved hometown to start a new life in the Tri Cities. Life was rough.

Then someone gave me a Bible and I read the following words from Hebrews 2:10-13:

"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says,
"I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.
And again,
"I will put my trust in him."
And again he says,
"Here am I, and the children God has given me."

Gulp. Jesus calls me brother? I am a child of God? Jesus suffered for me?

Yep, it finally sank in. I realized that when I repented of my sins and turned to Christ for salvation, I became an adopted member of another eternal family. No matter how bad life was with my broken, earthly family, all was well with my heavenly family. My forever family.

I was NOT alone. Jesus was with me.

And I came to know that singing that "secular" song during all those hard, difficult, painful moments where I THOUGHT I was alone, Jesus was there the whole time, covering me, carrying me, because I am not heavy for Him...my brother.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a YouTube version that's the closest thing I've heard to the arrangement we used to do: