Chris August – Jesus, Savior
As I write today’s blog, I’m actually in the Ohio city of Toledo for the TobyMac Hits Deep tour featuring Brandon Heath, Mandisa, Chris August, Britt Nicole, Jamie Grace, Group 1 Crew, and of course, the man himself, TobyMac.
You can probably imagine that I, along with my VIP Press Pass, am near giddy with excitement. I’ve been looking forward to this night for quite some time, and I’d venture to say that wild horses couldn’t keep me away from the Huntington Center in about 2 hours.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
One thing almost did keep me away: the Anthony Wayne Bridge that spans the Maumee River in downtown Toledo.
If you don’t know anything else about me, the one thing you will probably take away from reading this blog is the truth that I am kind of a quirky person.
For starters, I am physically unable to eat meat that has a bone attached.
I can’t stand the flute.
I have a bizarre, totally inexplicable crush on TV’s Turtle Man.
And, to the delight of my friends and family, I am freakishly terrified of underground tunnels and bridges that span over waterways.
We’re talking a hyperventilating, sometimes vomiting, crying and screaming type fear.
To give you an idea of what I’m dealing with, you should know that I suffer from a recurring nightmare in which I am drive across the Mighty Mac Bridge to Mackinac, Michigan. (This, by the way would never happen, me driving across a bridge like that. It’s better for everyone if I’m blindfolded and sedated in the backseat when we drive across the Mighty Mac.) In my dream, my Honda Civic turns into a science fictional submarine that transports me back in time to World War II, where I land on the beach at Normandy during the Allied invasion of France.
Not a good time to visit France, even in a dream.
Needless to say, as much as I love going to Mackinac Island, I abhor the thought of having to cross over the Mighty Mac in the process of getting there.
My experiences with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco haven’t been much better. The one positive thing I will say is that the Golden Gate Bridge is breathtakingly beautiful, especially with two feet firmly planted on the ground outside the gift shop while taking pictures.
When I was inside a large passenger van driving over the Golden Gate Bridge…well, that was another matter entirely.
Earlier this afternoon, I was faced with my fear of bridges as I approached the venue for tonight’s concert. There, in between me and the Hits Deep Tour, was a really big, really archaic looking Smurfy blue bridge over a really wide section of the Maumee River. Seriously, this bridge looked like a bad knock-off of the Golden Gate Bridge, only not nearly as well maintained and with far fewer people on the pedestrian bridge.
I was in big trouble, and I knew it.
Abruptly, I pulled my car over to the side of the road to take a moment to come up with a plan.
Should I use my GPS to calculate a different route? A logical plan, but my GPS hates me and the spot I was in was a veritable no-man’s land so I couldn’t pick up a signal.
Should I call my doctor to have an emergency prescription of Xanax filled at the nearest CVS?
Drive across the Anthony Wayne Bridge with my eyes closed?
Turn around and go home?
There was really only one good option, and that was to buck up and just drive across the bridge. I thought to myself, ‘Really, what could go wrong?’
‘Well, since you asked,’ I replied to myself, ‘remember the bridge that collapsed in California a few years ago that killed a bunch of people? Or the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota? Wait, I think that was just a pedestrian bridge, but still, it collapsed. What if another driver veers into my lane and I end up in the river? What if there’s an earthquake, or a fire, or a tornado? What if….”
(Side note: you know you’re in a bad situation when you are having an intense mental debate with yourself. No one ever wins in this scenario.)
As I continued with my very long list of possible catastrophes that were not very likely to occur at any time, ever, I heard the words to Chris August’s song, Jesus, Savior, as his CD, No Far Away, played in my car.
Once upon a time,
In a town called Nazareth,
Lived an ordinary girl.
Mary was her name,
And she was engaged,
To Joseph the carpenter.
Suddenly an angel came,
Said, “You will have a baby boy.
But don’t be afraid,
God is with you.”
It occurred to me that Mary was a young woman who really had a legitimate reason to be fearful, at least when compared to me.
The angel Gabriel had appeared to her, announcing (and I’m loosely paraphrasing here), “Guess what? The Holy Spirit is going to come down and overshadow you, and you’re going to get pregnant! In nine months’ time you’ll give birth. Congrats, it’s a boy! He’s going to be, like, a really big deal. We’re talking the King of Kings and Lord of Lords here. A real VIP.”
Reason to be Afraid #1: Mary had angels dropping in to visit her. I’m sure that was awesome, but freaky frightening as well.
Reason to be Afraid #2: Mary was going to get pregnant, not the old fashioned way, but by the power of the Most High overshadowing her. I don’t know about you, but that sounds rather frightening to me, to say the least.
Reason to be Afraid #3: Mary was going to be an unwed, teenage mother. She no doubt knew when word got out about her situation she would likely be stoned to death or worse. Yikes.
Reason to be Afraid #4: She had no money, no job, no life skills. No way to take care of a baby, much less the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Reason to be Afraid #5: How do you even begin to mother God in the flesh anyways? Being a parent is tough enough, but being a parent to Jesus Christ…now that is seriously intimidating.
I’m sure I’m missing at least a hundred more reasons why Mary should have been scared out of her wits, but I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you the two things that strike me the most about this song, and this story.
The first is that Gabriel tells her very plainly, “Do not be afraid. God will be with you.”
The second is Mary’s reply to Gabriel: “May it be to me as you have said. I am the Lord’s servant.”
I love Mary’s response to the news that she was to become Jesus’ mother. What I love even more, however, is the fact that God promises the very same thing to me and to you that He promised Mary on the day she learned God’s plan for her.
God promises us that He will always be with us. Always.
There is nothing, not one thing that can separate us from His love, although many a fear and phobia have tried. When we are at our feariest, He is at His kingliest.
(Yes, I know, I’m making up words again…Deal with it!)
There is quite literally no bridge that He cannot cross to get to us when we need Him, pun intended.
With the song Jesus, Savior playing on the stereo and the song Jesus, Take the Wheel playing in my mind, I made it across the Anthony Wayne Bridge without the least bit of a problem. For about 20 whole minutes, this was the biggest accomplishment of my entire life.
Then, in one of those weird twists that my life is full of, I unexpectedly got to have a little Q&A session with the one and only TobyMac. You know, my most favoritest singing person in the whole wide world since I was 12 years old. (Considering I’m halfway to 70, that’s a long time.) The one person in the entire world I told my BFF Sarah I never wanted to meet because I was afraid I’d lose all ability to speak coherently, among other things.
All in all, it was a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly good day of fear fighting on my part.
Bridges and Peter Furler (the other person I never want to meet), take note.