Featured song: The Master’s Hand, from Carman’s 1982 album Some-O-Dat.

Everybody has their own story about what brought them to know Jesus in not just an intellectual way, but a personal way. Sometimes the journey has been a smooth transition into a relationship during childhood that just matures with time; sometimes it has been hard-fought struggle to seek out truth amidst the falsehoods and trials of life. 

I like what Keith Green said, as heard on the live introduction to his Song To My Parents on the 1983 compilation album I Only Want To See You There

“All I want to tell you is, you’re not going to find happiness in anything else. I tried. Oh, did I try! My own parents can tell you that. I travelled all over the United States, read lots of books on the occult and eastern religions, took lots of drugs… You’ve heard the testimonies before, I don’t need to tell you mine. But the part of every testimony I love is when they get to the bottom of their list. I put Jesus at the bottom of my list …”

It is such a constant theme in stories people tell about how they came to faith in Jesus. It could be an intellectual journey, like that taken by C.S. Lewis. He started with an attitude of Atheism; there is no God. As he continued to read and wrestle with the problem of what he saw in the world and what he understood from great authors of English literature of the past, he realized that there was no clear way to be certain that God did not exist. So he moved to a different level, that of the Agnostic, the person who admits that he does not know whether or not there is a God. Further time and reflection led him to the point of view called Theism: there is a God. He was not certain whether or not this God was interested in the affairs of men, but he had concluded that there was clear evidence that God exists. And from that point he came to believe that God as described in the Bible was the picture of God most consistent with what he could see in the world, and so finally moved himself to the realm of Christianity. 

For others, the path they take could be one of pain and loss, and finally finding themselves at the bottom pits of their own personal hell. And at that point they finally realize their desperate need for Someone to save them — and at the bottom of their list, they find Jesus. 

This song by Carman recounts what happens to someone who has either avoided the Church all his life, or has just never felt that Jesus had anything to offer him. And then one day, when he ducks into a service to “drop out of sight”, he finally has no choice but to sit still long enough to actually listen to the message given by the preacher. And those words pierce him to the heart, make him finally see his own blindness and stubborn pride, and God has His chance to break through and effect a change. 

I once heard someone tell me that finding Jesus was like being let out of a prison. I would ask you to consider again the Hand of the Master, who is offering you a release from your own prison, when you surrender control of your life to the One who really knows how life is to be played! 

I walked into the church that night
Thought that I’d drop out of sight
So I sat down
I laughed, in spite of all my blues
It’s really not the type of place I’m used
To hanging around

I looked ahead and saw the man
Watched him close, as he began to speak
That certain day
And it seem that something deep inside
Had seized my soul, and though I tried to shake it
It wouldn’t go away

It was as though the words he said
Would echo back inside my head –
I almost cried
I’d be a fool, so I supposed,
Then somehow, got myself composed,
And held it inside

I felt the blood rush through my wrist
The tighter that I squeezed my fist, determined
Not to let conviction start
But with all my wisdom left behind
I somehow saw that I was blind
And slowly, let His presence
Fill my heart

As everyone stood to their feet
I managed, somehow, to repeat the prayer
That they were prayin’
Then I dropped my head, and I dropped my eyes
As suddenly, I realized
Just what I was saying

Through trembling lips and streaming tears
I ended all those wasted years
Of dreams I’d built on sand
Unloading all my guilt and wrong
I somehow felt both weak and strong,
The night
I took the Master’s hand

As I look back, remembering,
I still recall how everything
Just seemed different than before
How every house and bird and tree
Was strangely beautiful to me
And people were even more

How could I have been so blind
To rush through life and never find this rock
On which I stand?
But when I whispered deep that Name
I knew I’d never be the same,
The night
I took the Master’s hand

But when I whispered deep Jesus’ Name
I knew I’d never be the same,
The night
I took the Master’s hand

Some-O-Dat, 1982, Carman  

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