My All-Time Favorite Songs, Part Two of Four (?)

I have a really low self-esteem most of the time.


Until a few years ago, I would have said my biggest struggle in my faith was pride and its subsequent legalism. Now I’m not so sure. I’ve been overwhelmed by grace to the point of being the ultimate enabler (can you say $800 over 10 weeks to fund someone else’s alcohol addiction? Oh right, me neither *insert shameful face*). Don’t get me wrong – I can be incredibly prideful, unwilling to admit my faults, judgmental, and unforgiving…those weeds just aren’t the ones God’s currently working on in this garden.

Where do I get that analogy, you ask? Four years ago, I spent two weeks in Cape Town, South Africa. Truly amazing. I hope one day I have the opportunity to return for much longer. During our second week, we worked at a small orphanage. In the morning, we led a Vacation Bible School for the school age kids, and in the afternoons, we began clearing land for a garden while sneaking into the “Baby House” to kiss the little ones.

When I say we cleared land, it’s not what you think. We weren’t pulling weeds or tilling the ground. No. Instead we removed every piece of garbage from this orphanage’s dump in order to then ready the ground for planting. It was exhausting and disgusting. It also showed me a side of the Father that I had never before seen, and that I would never forget.

There were times when it seemed the pile of garbage would never go away. I doubted we would ever finished in a few short days. Even more, I found it hard to believe that anything would ever grow in that small space. It seemed useless. I looked at this wasteland and just couldn’t see how anything good could come from it.

And suddenly He was there.

I felt Him at my side and heard His gentle voice say, “Couldn’t the same be said of you?”

I am that nasty dump. Many will pass by and think that there is no hope. No reason to think that the dross could be cleared away…that seeds could grow and bear fruit on this forgotten ground.

But not Him. Not even for a second.

“The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” (Isaiah 51:3)

I am not a hopeless cause. Neither are you.

Still, I struggle to believe it. I read in His word every day of His love and faithfulness. That he would give nations in exchange for my life. And yet hour by hour I doubt that He cares. That He loves me enough to give me what I want more than all else. That anyone could ever look at me and see someone worth fighting for. It makes me do crazy things, too. Just ask me about my relationship drama over the past year. Or why I am afraid to even introduce myself to people that actually want to serve the Lord with their lives. I could go on, but I won’t. I think you get the point by now that I am seriously messed up.

I want to believe that I am who He says I am, whether I feel like it or not.

That’s where this song comes in. Dennis Jernigan is probably the greatest songwriter of all time. Or just really good at listening to what God says and writing it down. The following song, Passionate Obsession, is written as if it were the Father singing over His children. I’ve listened to it nearly every day this year, sometimes indifferent, sometimes in tears.

Someday. Someday I will hear this song and believe and have no doubt. Sorry about the lengthy introduction. Here is “Passionate Obsession.”

When you’ve searched until you’ve found something you can’t live without
Hold on! Hold on!
I find in you love worth My life; worth the greatest sacrifice
Hold on! Hold on!
You are My most prized possession and proudly I make this confession:
I love you, I love you!
Worth my life to gain posession, you, My passionate obsession
I love you, I love you!

You are My desire!
I would brave both flood and fire, lowest depth, obstacle higher
Just to get to know you!
You are My obsession and I would face darkness, oppression
I would fight with love’s deepest aggression
Just that I might know you more.

Life will throw the heart about, beat it down with fear and doubt
Hold on! Hold on!
I will be there both day and night; bind your wounds, restore your sight
Hold on! Hold on!
You are one worth fighting for, one passionately I adore
How I love you! I love you!
Higher than the highest fountain, deeper than the deepest fountain
I love you! I love you!

You are My desire
And I would brave both flood and fire
The lowest depth, obstacle higher, Child, just to get to know you!
You are My obsession and I would face darkness, oppression
I would fight with love’s deepest aggression, Child
Just to get to know you more.

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