Lee Ann Womack’s song, Send it on Down, isn’t my story but like any story that speaks to the human condition and one’s relationship with the Lord, God, it sure hits home.
I heard this song for the first time just last week as I was cleaning up my office re-shelving text, commentary and reference books I had taken with me for an off-site theology written exam. Re-shelving books that represented a season in my life I thought, at one time, would have landed me in a different place and space – like the different town in Womack’s song.
I took a moment with each book fondly recalling the teaching, the revelations and epiphanies that had come my way from the pages of these books – from the writings and musings, prayers and words of others – wondering what in the world was next. And how could it be that I was still here? And what was I to do with all that had been revealed and that I had learned. And why, now that this work was complete, why was I feeling so alone, and lost, and needing to be found? Needing help from above. Needing a sign. A touch. A whisper. Help from above.
The laptop perched on my desk was tuned to a country music video show providing what I thought would be an easy going sound track to the emotionally-packed task at hand. I wasn’t watching the videos – just listening and bopping around the room to the country-western rhythm, even dancing a bit – behaving myself out of the lost-woe-is-me-place I felt I was in. Trying to feel in my bones the gratitude I had for having completed my studies. Trying to not wonder why anymore and just be – be here and now, in the moment, grateful with open ears and eyes and heart to God’s touch.
It came by way of Womack’s song. Jesus can you save me? I stopped dancing. Moved to the desk to see the video. Sat down. Watched in order to hear more deeply. My prayer – this had been my prayer for most of my life, long. Was it still?
There was something so sad in the voice – not hopeful, and not even close to joyful as talk of Jesus and salvation is meant to be. Simply sad. And the prayer-like lyrics compelled me to sit with this woman. To be in the here and now, in the moment. To pray with her.
Click this link to see the version I watched Send it on Down, by Lee Ann Womack as performed acoustically on CMT.
I hear in Womack’s voice the pain of one who knows they are in over their head and need help from above to get out before they are completely lost. I hear the familiar pain of deep loneliness, too. As I watch her sing the song, I weep. Such a private moment, a private prayer from her heart. No one knows the pain she is in, no one knows how crazy she feels, how close she is to losing it all. Find me, the woman in the song prays – find me, Jesus.
And it asks for more. Don’t just find me, do something about it! Like many prayers of those who are lost, the song-prayer asks for Jesus to take the initiative, – to take some action – to send her something that will get her out of the bog. She knows she doesn’t have it in her to do, herself. Save me – send me something.
I wonder what Jesus will send her? And I wonder what she expects? Does she even know what she is asking for?
I wonder if she will hear it, experience it, see it, know it, feel it, follow it.
I’ve written about this before – about our prayers to the Lord, God, to save us from one thing or another. I’m intrigued about the authenticity of such prayers. Jesus save me from going crazy. Ok. But. Is this an honest prayer if I am unwilling to change myself? My circumstance? Are we honestly praying for Jesus to save us from ourselves – to keep us on track, to love as we are loved, to forgive as we are forgiven – when we choose to ignore all the help He does send our way.
This is the tricky part. You know you are in trouble. You seek Jesus. You trust you will be saved. And days, months, years later you find yourself in the same town, singing the same song, hoping Jesus will finally find you before it’s too late.
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Apparently, before its too late works both ways. Just as the woman in Womack’s song knows she needs to be found quick, our Lord God, warns the Israelites that time is running out for them to find Him. The woman of the song seeks to be sought, relocated, helped, saved. And God seeks to be sought in order to do just that. To be known by us, to be praised, to be relocated to, to rest in, to help, to save.
And in the Isaiah passage, we might infer that there’s a time-date stamp associated with God’s offer to save. Call upon Him while He is near, it reads – as if God is not always near.
God is always near, is always in all things, is always helping, is always saving. But we are not always within earshot – we distance ourselves from Him, sometimes intentionally, so that we don’t hear and can’t see what He has sent from above.
I wonder if Jesus didn’t send me something from above when this song came across my radar screen. Did he find me where he would have me? In my office, surrounded by God’s word and books written about our abba Father? Hmm. I wonder.
I’m not sure, yet. But I do know that in that moment – and for that day – that song and those lyrics, saved me from going crazy.