Myth, or Reality?

“According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.   For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.   But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.   For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”  Philippians 1:20-23

I have a confession to make.  I LOVE Southern Gospel music, especially the older stuff.   I didn’t even know what Southern Gospel music was until the mid 90’s, but then my family was introduced to one of Bill Gaither’s Homecoming videos, and I was hooked.  I grew up listening to the Gaither Trio and Doug Oldham, but I had no idea about such groups as the Statesmen, the Blackwood Brothers, the Happy Goodmans, or other such groups before seeing the Homecoming videos.

Last night, we pulled out Singin’ In My Soul from our collection of Gaither Homecoming videos and watched it as a family.  At one point, Tanya Goodman Sykes was singing a song written by her late father, Rusty Goodman.

Look for Me (Words and Music by Rusty Goodman)

When you finally make your entrance to that city
Of jasper walls and bright golden avenues,
As you behold all its beauty and its splendor,
Remember there’s just one request I make of you:

Look for me for I will be there, too.
I realize when you arrive there will be so much to view.
After you’ve been there ten thousand years,
A million, maybe two
Look for me, for I will be there too.

As you go down your list of firsts there’s no question
We’re gonna have to see our loved ones, me and you.
And when you feel you’ve shared your story with the last one
Who wants to hear just how you made it through,
Look for me for I will be there too.

I realize when you arrive there will be so much to view.
After you’ve been there ten thousand years,
A million, maybe two,
Look for me for I will be there too.

Rusty’s brother Howard was still living and was present as Tanya was singing.  He sobbed his way through it, and then made the confession that, as he was getting older and thinking about his own mortality, he had doubted at times whether all that he had sung about for so many years was just a myth, or if there really would be a Heaven on the other side of death.  Tanya’s singing had helped to renew his faith in the Lord he had followed for so long.  What followed Howard’s confession was a sweet time of sharing and singing as others revealed that they, too, had struggled with doubts, but that the Lord had helped them to come to the point of trust.  Bill Gaither sang his song “I Believe”

I Believe (Words and Music by Bill and Gloria Gaither)

I believe, help Thou my unbelief.
I take the finite risk of trusting like a child.
I believe, help thou my unbelief.
I walk into the unknown trusting all the while.

I long so much to feel the warmth that others seem to know.
But should I never feel a thing, I claim Him even so.
I believe, help thou my unbelief.
I walk into the unknown trusting like a child.

Have you ever struggled with doubts?  I have.  Somehow it’s encouraging to think that even those who spend their lives in service for the Lord can have these doubts.  Yet the Lord is gracious, and He has made Himself real to me time and time again, and doesn’t chastise me when I fall back into doubt now and then.  Instead, He draws me into an even sweeter walk with Him.  “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”  Psalm 103:14

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  • Karen says:

    These songs are so meaningful. I am always amazed at the talent. I love southern gospel too.

  • Tehachapi Grandma says:

    Singing about heaven! What an encouragement that is to us! We’re strangers and pilgrims here; heaven is our home!
    My dear daughter, how this post encourages your 60-year old mother who looked in our little hometown paper for the obituary section this week and discovered that three out of four people who recently died were younger than I am. But recognizing our mortality need not be a morbid thought — indeed, thoughts of heaven are precious and filled with anticipation. You know my dear 75-year old friend who says she pictures herself in heaven just falling at the feet of Jesus, worshipping Him, and just reaching out to touch the hem of His garment. We can’t even imagine the wonderful experience that awaits us for all eternity!

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