We’ve all been there at some point or another. Weary, disillusioned, and disappointed.
Your relationship with God feels distant.
Your love for the Word has grown cold.
You go through the motions of spiritual activity, hoping to rekindle your passion, yet the wintry season hangs on until you wonder if you’ll ever want to want God again, to feel the awe of the Burning Bush or to yearn for the still small voice.
Maybe it’s the flaws in your church, or the failures of leaders you once admired.
Maybe it’s the infighting and bickering between brothers and sisters who ought to be known more for their love and forbearance than for their Twitter takedowns or Instagram indignation.
Maybe it’s the loneliness that sets in after a season of hurt and pain, when you wall yourself off from others in order to protect your heart, only to find yourself alone in tears.
Your heart hardened by suffering, your spirit discouraged by besetting sins, your soul shriveled by self-pity, your mind confused by controversy—you wonder what to believe, who to follow, or how to move forward through these icy waters.
Go back to Jesus.
He is your first love. He is the everlasting treasure. He is the One who makes everything worth it.
Sometimes the simplest prayers express the most profound faith. When I struggle through a season of discouragement, I return to the words of the old spiritual once sung by slaves, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, but give me Jesus. In the morning when I rise, when I am alone, when I come to die—give me Jesus.
In spiritual winter, I go to the psalms of lament because they express the spiritual emotions I feel toward God. Psalm 88 cries out “my soul is full of trouble!” But I also go to the psalms because they express emotions I want to feel but don’t. Psalm 135 has me say “Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord!”
Sometimes there’s a mismatch where even the psalms borne from suffering don’t capture what you feel, precisely because you no longer feel much of anything. And it’s in that terrible state that I go to the psalms anyway and place those fiery words on my tongue, trusting that God will rekindle my heart and inflame my passion for Him.
Give me Jesus!
The psalms point forward to Christ, and it’s in the Gospels where we encounter Him afresh—in all His incomprehensible, ever-compelling glory. We see Him turning over tables and excoriating injustice, while lifting the head of the helpless and healing the sick and wounded. His stories engage our hearts and minds while keeping us wondering forever about this detail or that. He gives us bread and fish in the wilderness and then nourishes us at His table with His body and blood.
When we sing, “Give me Jesus,” we don’t merely invite comfort. We yearn for the One who often called out His disciples for having “little faith.” We long for the One who is close and yet distant, elusive and yet present, a Savior who smashes the boxes we’d put Him in, who can’t be confined by worldly expectations because He brings news of a new and better world to come.
Crying out for Jesus is more than yearning for safety; we want His ferocious goodness. The Lion of Judah’s roar can burst your eardrums, but in His mane you can bury your head and cry out all your tears of sorrow. Untamable, unfathomable, unexplainable—He’s a fire that bursts into a blaze, burning away our sins, yet still warming our hearts.
And so, friend, wherever you may be at this time, a year after so many things in our world changed, don’t lose sight of the One who saved you, the One who even now sustains you when you don’t sense His presence—the One who promises to complete the good work He has begun in you.
We sing “Give Me Jesus” because we want what He wants. He is the One who prayed that we would be with Him and see His glory (John 17:24).
We sing “Give Me Jesus” because we trust we have been given to Him, and we believe His promise that we will never be cast out (John 6:37).
We sing “Give me Jesus” because on the cross, when the glory and love of God was manifested in the Son bowing to His Father’s will, His heart was singing for us, “Give me my Bride.”
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.