Overcoming the Callous

New post up at WORLD Mag today.


I heard a fire truck siren last night. This maybe isn’t all that noteworthy but for the fact that I actually stopped and noticed.

We aren’t exactly what you call urbanites, in that we don’t live in an area where public transportation is the primary means of getting from point A to point B, but we aren’t exactly suburbanites either. We’re about as close to being city dwellers as you can be and still have a decent backyard.

But being this close to the city also means being this close to the drama a city attracts. There is an apartment building directly across the street from us where we have witnessed drug busts on more than one occasion. The first few times all the requisite emergency vehicles pulled up practically in front of our house we were adequately concerned and went to find out what was going on.

But when this happens over and over and over you sort of learn to tune it out. We had friends over for dinner the other night when all the various sirens started blaring in our front yard. Our friends were concerned. I hadn’t even heard it happen.

So when I noticed the siren last night I was surprised to find that it made an impact on me, as though I needed a wake-up call to notice other things too. There are certain sins in both my family and myself that I just sort of tune out. They don’t prick my heart like I remember them doing in the beginning. Time and repetition has taken away the concern and I haven’t even noticed.

There is a certain song we sing in church on occasion. This song is the siren that surprises me back into caring. It nourishes my soul in a way few other songs are able to do. It rips the callous right off my heart and makes me feel again. It goes like this:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.

A great high Priest whose Name is Love

Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,

My name is written on His heart.

I know that while in Heaven He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair

And tells me of the guilt within,

Upward I look and see Him there

Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died

My sinful soul is counted free.

For God the just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,

My perfect spotless righteousness,

The great unchangeable I AM,

The King of glory and of grace,

One in Himself I cannot die.

My soul is purchased by His blood,

My life is hid with Christ on high,

With Christ my Savior and my God!

I’ll tell you this one thing: I am tempted to despair quite often. And I see the guilt within. But what I forget to do is upward look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin. Sometimes I need to be snapped back into looking up, to see the great unchangeable I AM: Christ, my Savior and my God.


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