Where’s The Power Lord?
It wasn’t until I finished recording this song that I realized something- I was asking the wrong question! The question shouldn’t be “Where’s the power Lord?” It should be, “Where’s the RELATIONSHIP?”
Now it makes sense that I would get that wrong, because it’s pretty much what us Christians do when our spiritual life takes a dive. After drifting for awhile we will usually come to the place where we realize that something’s not right, that we’re not at the same place that we used to be in our spiritual life. It’s kind of like the person who puts a raft out in the water and goes to sleep in the hot sun. Sometimes we wake up and don’t know where in the world we are! We’ve drifted. Now if you do that in the ocean it can actually be pretty dangerous. You look around and you have no landmarks- you’re lost with no clue how to get back home.
Well, our spiritual life is like that- we can take a nap and drift, and sometimes for a very long time. When we finally come to our senses and begin to wake up, it can be confusing. “What happened, Lord? Where’s your power? Why do I feel so weak and empty?” We can remember what it used to be like, but it’s not like that anymore- we’re someplace else and we don’t quite know how to get back to the place where we started.
I think the story of Samson and Delilah is a good illustration of what happens when we drift from the Lord.
What was Samson’s real problem?
You remember the bible story about Samson and Delilah? The guy drifted BIG TIME. Sure, we could try to blame Delilah for that, after all, she was constantly tempting Samson- but Delilah was NOT Samson’s #1 problem. Samson was actually his own worst enemy! Why do I say that? Well, here’s one reason…
“One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her.” -Judges 16:1
Okay, Samson’s not exactly a beacon of purity here! This is the kind of thing he was doing before he ever ran into Delilah. Sure, falling in love with Delilah wasn’t his best move, but Samson was a guy who had already been drifting. So Samson drifted right into the arms of a woman who wasn’t good for him. Now this woman was toying with Samson and he knew it, but he played along. Samson was used to toying with sin and Delilah probably seemed no worse than any other thing he’d been tempted with in the past. As we all know, when we toy with sin it’s only a matter of time before we get caught in it and we’re ensnared. Delilah turned out to be more than Samson bargained for, however!
Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. -Judges 16:20
He’d been drifting, toying with sin and playing a dangerous game with Delilah, and in the course of it he broke his consecration to God. He woke up and thought, “Today will be like any other day”, but he was very wrong! The Lord has left him and he was POWERLESS.
“Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison.” -Judges 16:21
Now he’s rotting in prison with his eyes gouged out. You don’t think he’s asking himself, “What happened, Lord? Where was your power? Why weren’t you with me as you were before?”
But it was never about POWER, it was always about RELATIONSHIP.
Samson’s uncut hair represented his consecration to God; it represented the fact that he was in a relationship with, and set apart to, the Living God. But Samson played loosely with the very thing that made Him special. He knew better than to divulge this secret to Delilah since he could plainly see she was devious and using her feminine wiles to ensnare him, but he flirted with her anyway. He was drifting and compromising and this time it was going to be his undoing. It cost him dearly. You might think this would be the end of Samson and his story, but…
“But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.” -Judge 16:21
How awesome is that? Our failure is not the end of relationship. God was not done with Samson!
Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” -Judges 16:28
We know how the story ends- God does remember Samson and grants his request. Samson takes out the Philistines and sacrifices himself in the process.
There could have been a better ending
How much better it would have been if Samson had just stayed true to God! But let’s be honest, all of us have drifted from time to time and to various degrees. In our own way we suffer for it, too. We find ourselves dazed and confused and imprisoned if only within ourselves- we end up being not what we used to be, something less than what we could have been. The lesson learned is that we have no true life apart from God; our relationship with Him is EVERYTHING.
But maybe we don’t have to drift so far out to sea as Samson did; hopefully we don’t need to have our eyes gouged out to be able to see that we’re blind!
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” -Matthew 13:16
The real question is not, “Where’s the power, Lord?” it’s “Where’s the relationship?” It’s not about whether God uses us or not for His service, or does things for us in our lives, it’s about the fact that we’re His CHILDREN- it’s always about relationship. And because it is about relationship we can have hope to turn things around, because He is our Father and we are His sons and daughters.
What to do when we’re far away from God
In the parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32 we have a vivid picture of a straying, drifting son who’s made a mess of his life. He took the good things his father gave him and spent it on a wild spree of excess. Eventually he ran out of money and fun and ended up with a job feeding pigs. He got to such a low point in his life and was so desperately hungry he thought of eating the food he was feeding to the pigs. Things were not looking good for the prodigal son! Out of sheer desperation and utter need he decided it was time to go back home…
“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still some distance off, his father saw him and his heart went out to him, and he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” -Luke 15:20
His older brother couldn’t believe that their father was actually taking this loser brother of his back. Even more than this, his dad was throwing his brother a party! What in the world was going on here? Hadn’t his brother totally messed up and blown all his father’s inheritance? Does he really deserve a party? Instead of being happy that his brother had returned home he was angry and jealous that his dad was actually celebrating his safe return.
“But when that son of yours arrives, who has spent all your money on prostitutes, for him you kill the calf we’ve fattened!’”-Luke 15:30
You can hear the derision, can’t you? He calls his brother, “that son of yours”, instead of “my brother” and is angry about the fact that he and his father worked day in and day out for “the calf we’ve fattened” only to have his brother eat it at a party he didn’t deserve.
Now, let me stop to just say very quickly that if you’re a Christian who’s messed up your life not everybody in the church is going to be happy to see you’re back or be excited about your return! It’s sad, but true. Many Christians are like the prodigal’s older brother- a little too self righteous and without enough of their Father’s heart. Don’t let that worry you. Your Father has open arms and will receive you; any brothers and sisters who give you the cold shoulder will just have to come around.
“But the father replied, ‘My dear son, you have been with me all the time and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and show our joy. For this is your brother; I thought he was dead—and he’s alive. I thought he was lost—and he is found!’” -Luke 15:31-32
This story is about our Heavenly Father and how he relates to His children. “He ran and fell on his neck and kissed” his rebellious son as soon as He saw him coming home! He didn’t shame him, or berate him, or point out his sin, or put him on parole to see if he was really going to be a better person now that he had returned home. The Father celebrated his return and let him know in the biggest way possible that he was still His son and part of the family.
To those of us who think we’re better than our wayward brothers and sisters he has this to say…
“THIS IS YOUR BROTHER.” -Luke 15:31-32
If you’re asking God where His power has gone, what you’re really asking is, “Where’s our relationship?” Don’t let your pride get in the way of returning home. Your Father has open arms and will be glad you’re back.
“Where’s The Power Lord” is available here on iTunes.