Saturday, April 16, 2016
Loved By You – Randy Gill
‘But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”’ (2 Corinthians 10:17)
You might suspect that this contemporary composer spent a little time reading what an ancient predecessor once wrote about bragging. Indeed, ‘brag’ may have been an uncommon word in the 1st Century dictionary (used Biblically just once – Amos 4:5), but check out ‘boast’ -- 93 times in the Bible (in the New International Version translation). And, half of those 93 times are words written or repeated by one author – Paul. This ‘Hebrew of Hebrews’ was aware of this character issue, aware of his pedigree (see first seven verses of Philippians 3), and we can surmise that Randy Gill was too when he sat down and wrote “Loved By You” a couple of years ago. Let’s consider how far boasting gets a wrongdoer in an earthly courtroom (like the one shown here), versus another type of room we’ll all see some day, where love is the operative factor.
It’s a revealing exercise, to research someone’s background using our world’s internet, but one can learn only so much. In Randy’s case, one gets the feeling that when he put pen-to-paper in 2014, he put his pedigree in the back seat and decided to boast about someone else instead. That’s not to say that he didn’t draw upon his varied experiences to craft this testimony. He’s been a blessed fellow – degrees from four higher education schools, and faculty assignments at a like number of institutions, and a well-earned reputation. One might say he’s a ‘Christian of Christians’, echoing/paraphrasing Paul’s sentiments 2000 years ago. As to what motivated his “Loved…” ode, Randy shared recently with this blogger this singular episode that rings true for every believer…it needs no other introductory words:
‘That’s a very special song for me. It was actually written during the hours I spent at my father’s bedside as he was passing from this life to the next. He had been ill for a couple of painful years and as his body slowly shut down I found myself thinking about the spiritual legacy he had left me. My father was a preacher who was known for his gentle and loving spirit. From my earliest days I remember hearing him say that God loved us no matter what. I spent quite a bit of time at his bedside with my guitar singing hymns for him towards the end. The last few days he was unresponsive and I found myself playing the same chords over and over again and singing “I am loved by you.” It was both a statement about the love I had experienced from the man who lay before me and the love of a Father who was waiting to welcome my dad home. When I got back home after the funeral I had the chorus but no verses. I was reading a little book of Puritan prayers in my morning devotional time and one of them started with the words “You have wept over me like Jerusalem.” I had never heard that image before and it really resonated with me. As I read that prayer I pictured my heavenly father doing the same (crying) over me. With that mental image in mind the rest of the verses and bridge came relatively quickly.’
Wow. If we hadn’t heard Randy’s personal reflection, we might conclude from his verses that he’s gotta work on that boasting part, and Perry Mason might tell him he should highlight his own accomplishments, if he really wants to defend himself adequately. Thankfully, Randy’s not trying to usher me into a secular courtroom, but has me calling out to a judge whose throne room I long to enter – and, incredibly, I can. That’s worth boasting about to others.
Despite human foibles, Randy Gill has tapped into a crucial fact in “Loved by You”. His emotional psychology, emanating from a deathbed watch and its aftermath, may have likewise lit his path in some words he provided in a December 2015 interview, in which he talked about how the believer is formed spiritually (see the link below). To sum it up, maybe Randy wants me to realize that being loved by the Almighty revolutionizes my worship, as I reprocess that love connection over and over again – as I sing ‘I am loved by You’ repeatedly. It’s a spiritual formation—a transformation-transportation that makes me heaven-bound, to join others like Randy’s dad--initiated by Him upon my being, and it grows on me as I live and worship in various shades each day. Gill talks about being able to worship despite the crummy mood I may be in, versus the exuberance I might feel another day. In all these, He loves me, a fact that I can embrace, despite even my death. Thanks Randy for sharing and for helping me boast about this, and freeing me to be real before Him.
The composer’s song-story was shared in an e:mail with this author-blogger on 19 April 2016. (Thank you Randy Gill!)
Composer’s brief biography is here: http://ottercreek.org/about/our-ministers-shepherds/member/1208065/
Read a recent interview of the composer here: http://christianstandard.com/2015/12/an-interview-with-randy-gill/