Simple Devotion

Ever have a song instantly transport you decades into your past? That happened to me this morning while driving. I was listening to Chris Tomlin’s new album, “Always.” Then song number 5 started, “O Lord, You’re Beautiful.”

For those of you old enough to remember, this is one of Keith Green’s songs. As I listened to the song this morning, I was transported back to 1988. I was a brand new youth pastor, on fire with intense love for Jesus. I wanted to go anywhere and do anything to serve him. I loved worshipping him. So, I taught myself some basic piano chords so I could sing my love to him.

As the simple chords of “O Lord, You’re Beautiful,” played in my car this morning, I was in the upstairs youth room in that old Baptist Church. I was alone with Jesus, playing the chords and singing this song of love to him.

“O Lord, You’re Beautiful

Your face is all I seek

And when your eyes

Are on this child

Your grace abounds to me.”

Back in the car, my heart swells and the tears start. My God, I loved him with such a simple and focused love!

But over the decades, I’ve “matured” and let my life and faith become more “complex”. And the simplicity of my love had been replaced by something else. When I was young, I strained for a vision of what I could be in the future. Now I’m there and I long for what I had in the past.

“O Lord, please light the fire

That once burned bright and clear

Replace the lamp

Of my first love

That burns with holy fear.”

In the car, the song continues. I’m back, fully in the present. I’m singing these simple words — words that are more than a song. They’re a prayer, a yearning, a plea. A cry of simple devotion from my past, racing forward to shape my present and future.

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