Draw me close to You,
never let me go.
I lay it all down again to hear You say that I’m Your friend.
You are my desire,
Nothing else will do.
No one else can take Your place,
To feel the warmth of Your embrace.
Help me find a way to bring me back to You.
You’re all I want.
You’re all I’ve ever needed.
You’re all I want.
Help me know You are there.
The lyrics above were written by worship leader, Kelly Carpenter, in January 1994. If you are familiar with worship music, or if you’ve been to any kind of church revival or summer camp, then you have probably heard and sung this deeply personal and moving song. This has always been one of my favorite worship songs, mainly because I find myself needing to draw near to God so often. It has been a rough day for me, and I clicked on my blog, opened a new post, and this was the song that came forth. I know it by heart, literally. For what pours forth from the mouth has root in the heart. I didn’t know who wrote the song, so wanting to give proper credit, as any good student who has been warned of plagiarism would do, I googled the lyrics. I came across an article written by Mark Smeby about the songs author, and was further moved by the origins of the song.
This song began as a passionate, personal prayer, that poured forth as one of the best-known and well-loved worship melodies. Kelly’s journey to the song and since it is just as inspiring, calling us back to The One for whom or what nothing else will do. I’ve included a few quotes and the link to the article.
“This song has always been intensely personal for me,” Kelly adds, “and continues to bring me back to my knees, that my relationship with God should come first before the call, the vision, and the ministry that He has given me.”
The years following these were filled with struggle and disappointment for Kelly “We’ve gone through some tough times in the last five years. Times when I felt God was calling me to full-time ministry. Honestly, it’s been very difficult figuring out my faith and my walk with God. During these years, ‘Draw Me Close’ became much more to me than an ‘I’m in ministry’ kind of song. It became much deeper for me. Life, and all the stuff we wind up going through makes it really hard to keep the Lord at the center. God ends up using pain and brokenness to draw us to Him. The song became very germane and poignant to those moments–a ‘come home again’ kind of song.”
After reading this article and particulary the above passages, I was once again amazed at the mysterious ways God works. When I picked up my computer, I felt so far from God, broken and in pain, lost and alone, much like Kelly Carpenter felt. I didn’t know what I was going to write, and I didn’t really feel like it, but I felt a gentle nudge. When the tune started in my heart and then fell onto the page, God took over. A song I’ve known for years led me to its writer and his story, reminding me that I am not the only one who feels or has felt far from God. Especially when my greatest desire is to be close to Him.
God chose to use the ordinary means of the internet, articles, blogs, and words to remind me of some extraordinary truths. God is never far from us. We are not lost to God. Where we are weak, He is strong. Where we see brokenness, God sees beauty and hope. We are never alone.
Today Aaron said to me, “Sometimes God is silent. I don’t know why, but he is using it.” At the moment, that was just a fleeting statement, but as I reflect on it, I think that in using silence, God wants us to become silent. In doing so we are able to hear the song inside us, the voice guiding us, and the love filling us. Even when God is silent, He is there, just like a friend gently holding a hand in times of trouble when words can’t express. He is gently calling us to draw near to Him, letting His grace and love make us whole. He wants us to put everything else aside that keeps our path to His arms cluttered and strewn with chaos. He will guide our steps; shine a light in the dark. We want to be loved and understood. God waits for us to desire Him above all else, already loving us beyond all measure and understanding.
Draw close to Him, for He is near.