Musical Musings: I Am, Nichole Nordeman

Wait a minute, wait a minute... you just did "I Am". You said you were going to blog on each of her songs... what are you doing adding a second entry for one song when you haven't gotten to the rest yet?
Yeah, well, when inspiration strikes, I can't really ignore it. Jeremiah expresses it well in Chapter 20, verse 9 when he says "But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot."

Look back at those lyrics. There's a common theme through the chorus... "When I am weak, unable to speak, still I can call you by name..."

Have you ever been there? So at a loss for words that you don't even know where to begin? Have you ever had a hurt or a heartbreak that just stole the words from your mouth, and all you could do was sob? Have you ever been so moved that words could not begin to describe it, and you find it's impossible to limit the wonder with mere language?

I've been there, so broken that I could only sob "Oh God, Oh God," over and over again, rocking on my living room floor as tears flowed freely down my face. I couldn't even stay in my chair... driven to my knees, to my face by Almighty God, in all His mercy and love, I couldn't put word to what was overwhelming my heart.

And yet, I've never had sweeter prayer than in moments like that... when I didn't even know where to start praying, what words to speak to my God. It's happened more than once, and I'm not always in a pile on the floor when I am moved beyond mere words. (If you ever see me alone in my car, tears pouring down my face, chances are good, I'm having one of those moments.) In those moments of utter brokenness, of heartache that moves me so far that my normally verbose self is struck dumb, I find that I am able to pray still.

Romans, the "How To" guide for how to live the Christian life, discusses this amazing situation. Paul tells us in Romans 8:26-27 that in moments of this complete weakness, "the Spirit Himself intercedes on our behalf with groans that words can not express."

That may be one of the greatest roles of Christ and the Spirit in our lives... not to say that salvation isn't amazing, but salvation is the ultimate intercession, isn't it? Job speaks of the intercessor in Job 16:19-21 when he tells us that his intercessor is an advocate on high, interceding even as our eyes pour out before God. In fact, a topical search on intercession reveals many many instances.

So what is an intercessor? What is this all about? The American Heritage Dictionary at Dictionary.com defines intercession as an "Entreaty in favor of another, especially a prayer or petition to God in behalf of another" or "mediation in a dispute". An intercessor provides this entreaty, this mediation. What scripture tells us is that we have an advocate, a friend, an ally on our side before the throne of the Almighty God. When we find we have no words to express, when the tears flow so freely that we can only hiccup as we sob, we have an advocate, speaking the truth that is in our hearts. He is putting into words what we cannot.

So what. Why do we need this intercessor, anyway? Because there is an accuser before the throne, too, one who aspired to sit upon it, and seeks to win at any cost. Satan literally means "accuser". He wanted the throne, He needs the grace we are so freely given. In many ways, he's that 6-7 year old kid who goes running to the teacher at every opportunity. "Lookie what she did! She's not so special! Nenny-nenny!" He's going to the perfect, just, sinless God with all our failures and shortfalls, when we are most vulnerable, trying to get us in trouble. Gee, I think I like the idea of a guy on my side, speaking on my behalf.

When I am most wounded, weakest, most completely overwhelmed, unable to do more than sob His name, I have an intercessor speaking the words I can not. Before I was, I had a King who interceded on my behalf even though it cost Him His life to do so. He bore my failures, my errors, my selfishness, all of my ugliness on His sinless self. "See God? Her failures are covered. The debt she owes? I've paid it in full." And then, He rose from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of the Father. "Look, God... see? She's covered. Oh, Father, can you hear her heart breaking? How she loves her sisters. She doesn't know how to help them, how to show them how free she is in my embrace... Father, do you hear her heart?" And of course He does.

I will be weak, unable to speak, still I will call You by name. "Creator, Maker, Life Sustainer, Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer, Lord and King, Beginning and the End" My intercessor... "I am, yes I Am."

Praise God for providing our needs before we knew how desperately we'd need them. Praise God for the intercessor, who stepped from Heaven to Earth, bore my sin, and returned to the Father where He could speak on my behalf. Praise God for the intercessor, who resides with me, who knows the deepest heart of me, and speaks on my behalf when words fail me. Praise God.

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