I was barely a teenager when Rich Mullins wrote a song that he described as “the worst song he had ever written” and “poorly crafted”. The song was called Awesome God and it took off like wildfire in the worship world in the late 80’s. It would become the symbol and reminder for me of hope, of power, and of salvation.
The first time I heard this song, I was at Glacier Bible Camp in Hungry Horse, Montana. I had gone to camp for the last few summers and had accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, but I had no way to get to church the rest of the year. My entire spiritual life banked on the five days I was at camp every August.
I could probably describe every square foot of that chapel at camp where I first heard this song because so many of my life changing moments happened there. I can remember where I was at the altar on a Tuesday night in August, 1986 crying out to make Jesus MY God. I threw my arms around my friend’s neck and thanked her for introducing me to a Christ I had never known. There were no words in that moment. Years later, I spilled tears of anger on that same altar and found the forgiveness I needed to walk victoriously through my life. I would first feel the Holy Spirit and His power in that room. Then there would also be a sweet moment when I would go back, many summers later, as a Kid’s Camp Counselor. I stayed late one night after all the kids left to weep over their lives. It was then that I first felt the burden of Jesus’ love for people. It was a confusing feeling for my human heart until our District Youth Director laid his large hand on my shoulder and explained what a pastor’s heart felt like. God had called me to ministry.
Whenever I hear that old song about our Awesome God, I am taken back in time to those moments. I can close my eyes and picture the first time that the band began to play. The words popped up on an overhead projector and as I read them, truth filled my young soul.
Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God
Wisdom, power, and love. This awesome God they were speaking of was filled with what I felt like I lacked in my life. He had the answers, He had the capability to move mountains, and He loved me. I began to sing out as loud as I could, determined to let my voice rise above the hundreds of other kids in the room. I know that God saw me, struggling to get enough air in my lungs to sing my tribute to Him. I was never loud enough on this earth, but I am sure that my voice was echoed in Heaven those nights at camp.
To read that Rich Mullins thought that this song was his worst makes me smile. What makes it so interesting is that what he considered a failure is the very thing that God used to stamp His memories in my heart and change the course of my life. It is like a signature for me to remember that when I feel like my efforts are poorly crafted and lacking, that may be the very thing that God uses to exalt Himself. That simple song is a constant picture to me to turn over my efforts to an Awesome God and see what He can do with His wisdom, His power, and His love.
So, don’t worry so much about where you are weak today. Just turn over those weaknesses to a God who spoke into darkness and created light. He can do the same with the song in your heart as well!
If you’d like a flashback in time, click this link to hear the song that changed my future: Awesome God