At the point Rich Mullins’ music became a staple in my life, adult life was kicking my over idellistic butt. I had just began renting my own place, substitute teaching five days a week, and working on my teaching certification wondering all along if I made a complete batch out of all the God had originally planned for my life. It was a hard and lonely time. I had known Rich’s music before.
I can’t remember exactly when I first heard Rich Mullins’ name. In the campy youth group I went to in my middle school years, we sang “Awesome God” and “Step by Step” quite a bit. “Awesome God” seemed cool on the fact alone it featured the word “awesome” which was still a cool word at that point. Then in high school sometime during my sophmore year I bought his compelation album Songs on cassette. I liked it well enough. Then about a year later I can remember my youth pastor announcing Rich had died in a car accident, so we sang a bunch of his songs that night. But he still just remained an artist I listened to occasionally. Through my years at Southwest Baptist and New Life Ranch I ran into a number of Rich Mullins fans, but I was in love with a band named Waterdeep at the time.
I think I had to hit real hardship, deep confusion, and painful rejection before God could use Rich’s music to help build me into a man that can truly know God along all the pain, struggle, and joy that comes in living and finding our place. His song “Hard to Get” I cried out along with Rich,
Do you remember when You lived down here?
Where we all scrape to find the faith to ask for daily bread
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath
While You’re up there just playing hard to get
His music allowed me to get out all of the disillunsionment with how I understood my life would go, but definitely was not going. But the Lord also used it along with the Scriptures, other authors, and life to start to truly get what actual regular Christ focused servant living looked like in the real world beyond camp highs and college mission trips. Starting with coming to grips with the absolute truth of God’s love for me that continued to draw my heart dispite myself as put so beautifully in “The Love of God,”
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God