Saturday, November 4, 2017

I Want To Be Where You Are -- Don Moen

Thirty-seven year old Don Moen was really attempting to craft one song, when something else--or someone else–cropped up. ‘Where’d  that come from?’, he thought. Maybe “I Want To Be Where You Are” came out of Don’s mouth because he was really thinking about a similarly focused theme for a musical show upon which he was working that day. Is that all it really takes, just thinking of being with our Creator, and ‘bam!’, there He is in the form of the Holy Spirit, like the dove of the bible? Don was alone when that simple little song emerged from his insides in 1987, a pattern that the Holy Son also employed when He wanted to be with His Father. So, what Don Moen would have you think, is maybe something you might try – call Him out when you are alone, and see what happens.

Don Moen says he was trying to write a song for “God with Us” as he sat alone in a church that day in 1987, but the other tune just kept emerging instead. Perhaps he wouldn’t have pursued “I Want To Be…” that day, except that the song’s tune had a certain persistence. So, he submitted, and eventually premiered the song’s four central chorus thoughts in an Oklahoma church. It wasn’t quite done, he thought, but the reaction of that first crowd of listeners told him it was closer to complete than he believed, so he left those portions of the chorus as he’d originally written them. Could it have been that Moen’s own thoughts had been dwelling subliminally on the phrases that he’d read probably many times? He relates that the words of “I Want To Be…” that came to him as he secluded himself to write some music that day made him reflect on Psalm 27:4. King David’s great desire, expressed in that ancient song, had taken hold of Don when he was a youth in 1962, and it reentered his own musical repertoire 25 years later. God was still with him, even though Don was steered toward a tune and some lyrics he discovered unexpectedly.             

Since “I Want To Be Where You Are” was first published, it has been put into Indonesian and Spanish words, taking it to other places and peoples that Don Moen probably would not have imagined in 1987. God is not limited by language, or anything physical. If I say I wish I were with Him, He responds, but maybe not the way I might expect. When I do get to be with Him forever, will it be what I have envisioned? Will He be? I can only say that others in history who’ve met Him haven’t been disappointed, if I can believe what I read. He doesn’t force Himself upon me, but lets me choose. You think that might be somebody you could give a chance?

The source for this song story is the book Our God Reigns: The Stories Behind Your Favorite Praise and Worship Songs, by Phil Christensen and Shari MacDonald, Kregel Publications, 2000.

For biography of composer, see here:

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