This week for Christian Music that Doesn’t Suck Mondays, we have “I Asked the Lord” by Indelible Grace. Indelible Grace is a classic worship band, specializing in singing only hymns in a contemporary way. I appreciate them because they bring up excellent hymns that many other contemporary bands skip over.
Why it doesn’t suck: This song, originally written by former slave-owner John Newton, speaks more honestly than any other sing I know of about a Christian’s struggle with sin in this life. Newton’s conversion experience was riddled with a continuing struggle with his former life’s temptations, and he continually pleaded with the Lord to simply take them away.
It is so easy to paint the Christian life as a progress bar that is always climbing, never dipping back down. We once walked in our old sinful ways, but now that we have been redeemed we don’t do that same shameful stuff anymore – that is tempting to think. But it just simply isn’t true; as we grow as a Christian, God reveals more and more sin that has been lying in our hearts than we were ever aware of. We did not come to Christ with a sliver of sin in our finger, and he plucked it out – rather, we came to Christ with our whole being plagued with sin. And while Christ has now given us a new, regenerated heart, we still struggle against our flesh. In the song, Newton is praying for God to grow him in his faith, but he notices that whenever he does this, God seems unearth all of the sin that is hiding in Newton’s heart. God’s answer to Newton’s prayer seems to be the exact opposite of what he anticipated.
The Christian life is a struggle, that is the truth, but it is a struggle that is sovereignly overseen by the Lord. He is a good Father, and though it may not always make sense to us, we trust that His omnipotent power and inscrutable wisdom are working mightily in us – even in our struggle. Praise God that even when we are brought to our lowest, we can still revel in the mercies of the cross, where Christ died to justify wretched sinners like you and me.
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”