The Show That Changed Everything
This was the show we had dreamed about. It was our audience; they knew our songs.
Mike, the club owner, loved us; mike, the sound guy, loved us.
Smoke ghosted every corner like smoke does. The club was well over maximum capacity, the zealots spilled out into the night. The exuberant crush swayed as the song swelled over them.
I leaned into the mic, put my lips on the mesh, and crooned.
“Get up, get up, get up, get into the rhythm. Swing, sway, let it pull you away…”
This was our most rock-friendly song – a southern growl. We wrote it just for this purpose, to get them in the mood. This was the best venue in town, we were opening for a national act, and playing to an audience we had spent years wooing.
“Crash, your down, dizzy and done, but wanting more…”
The song worked, they were with us; they loved us. Soon the headliner would want his due, but this moment was ours. The lights blinded me to all but the enchanted dancing press within arms reach. But you didn’t have to see all of them to sense it. They had come for a good time, to escape, to feel.
I sang passionately,
“Maybe now brothers, sisters, we can dance in the dawn…”
We were two songs into a six-song setlist. We had spent a lot of emotional, physical, and social coin to get here; years of practice and playing for no one, poor sound, small stages, or no stage. Behind us were weeks, months, years of promoting so we could possess a stage like this one.
You would have thought I’d be ecstatic; I wasn’t. I was exhausted and heartsick. Something was wrong.
I stepped back from the mic, and like any good performer, I entertained. Leaning over my guitar, I acted like it was the only thing that mattered. I glanced back at Eric on the drums; his eyes were closed like they always were – his mad scientist mind in some other universe. I could hear Shawn. He was playing his part, his electric guitar sang.
And while this perfect scenario for any up and coming band was playing out around me, I was experiencing a deep overwhelming empty sadness.
In less than twenty minutes it would all be over. And it wouldn’t mean anything. We would just do it again, and then again. All the effort it took to get here would have to be thrown into getting the next gig, the next fix. All the anxiety, all the insecurity, all the self-promotion… I became depressed.
Then, while wrestling with why I existed while performing for an audience, I remembered something – this isn’t wasn’t about me.
When we started our band, it was because we had too. Melody and rhythm – we burned for it. But we burned for something else, something more, God’s love. Even in those early years, I knew that music in any form was worship. My heart, our heart, as a band, was to respond to His love with song.
Somehow, in the weeks running up to this show, I had forgotten.
As I bent over my guitar, I realized I had lost my way. My passion had been compromised. I didn’t sing for hundreds of enthusiastic fans, nor was I making music just for me. That would never be enough… My passion was to know and reveal my Father’s love.
Right there, in the middle of the confusion, I repented. “Father, I am here for You, with You,” I whispered.
And at that moment, everything changed.
His sweet presence fell so profoundly on the stage that I became lost in His goodness. Suddenly what had been a worship service to our musical creation became a celebration of the Creator. I half wept, half sang into the mic; His love was so beautiful and I knew it to the core of me. For the next twenty minutes, I was swept away in the wonder, His mercy, His grace.
To close out our set, I leaned one last time into the mic and sang a line from a favorite Delirious song, “I can sing of your love forever.” And the entire place was alive with His presence and many hearts and voices entered that holy place – believing if just for a moment, His goodness, His measureless love. And everything changed.
They were screaming, it was adoration, but not mine, His! They were cheering God’s love. Whether they knew it or not. They wanted more. The whole club was electric.
Eric was the last to leave the platform. Joining the rest of us backstage he laughed, hugged me, and then with a sense of awe He said, “What happened?”
What do you mean? I queried.
“In the middle of song two, it was like, well, everything changed and suddenly the whole night made sense! All of a sudden I just started worshiping!” He responded.
Shawn, joined in, “I know! It was like God just showed up and what’s crazy is no one out there understood but they knew something was different!”
I laughed as I told them what had happened between God and me in the middle of the second song.
Later as we sat on the curb just outside the club listening to the great Tim Reynolds shred on his guitar, we laughed at the comments from those leaving. Over the next few years, we would hear the statement time and again. “You guys are so spiritual!”
Sometimes this opened the door to share about God’s love, but mostly I would just smile and say, “God is good.”
And that was enough because it was true and at that moment they knew it, experienced it, and believed it. And when that happens, well, it changes everything…
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story Ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.
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