SONGS THAT GAVE MY SOUL WINGS



By Akin Ojumu

Like many others before and after me, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior wasn’t an easy decision to make. Totally surrendering to God and wholly giving my life to Him was to me a fierce battle. My response to the altar call was drawn out and my path to the altar of salvation was long and tortuous marked with struggles against powerful fleshy desires that held me caged in a darkened and lonely prison.

Now, to be honest, I didn’t consider myself a bad person at all. On the contrary, I was a highly disciplined teenager and young adult with very firm moral principles. Even as an unbeliever, I had an uncharacteristically unyielding self control. The  typical vices that plagued and ensnared youths my age were a no-no for me. I refused to be peer pressured into taking up beer drinking and cigarette smoking was a habit that never quite caught my fancy. My friends thought you needed to do those things to be cool. To me, they were nothing more than embarking on an errand for a fool. Although, I certainly wasn’t gay, I kept the ladies at bay, and chasing after girls was not my thing at all.

Of all the worldly pleasures that would keep a man from the Lord, the one that had me on a short leash was my love for fictional novels and secular music. Those two got my number pretty good.

I loved reading novels. Give me a book and you’d have made my day. I used to feel a thrill run down my spine whenever I laid my hands on a new novel, and the fatter the novel the stronger the thrill. By the time I graduated High School I had read all the available series of James Hardly Chase, Nick Carter, Leon Uris, Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, etc. We had this competition thing going on back then in High School on who would be the fastest to read some of the most voluminous novels. I got drunk on them novels.

My love for novels was only equaled by my passion for music. Besides fictional books, music was the only other vice that had me hooked. As poor as I was back them, the little money I had I burned it into BASF chrome tapes and recording studios. As soon as the songs were released, I had them on tape. I would dub, copy, and do whatever it took to lay my hands on the song. My music library - comprised of cassette tapes - could rival anyone's modern day iTunes library.

So, for me to give my life to Christ, I knew I had to give up my novels and music. And I could never imagine myself being able to live without my novels and music. Despite my repeated encounters with the Gospel of Salvation and multiple entreaties by the born again brethren, I refused to surrender because I couldn’t give up my vices.

But thank God Almighty for His patience and mercies. I did eventually let go and let Christ into my wretched soul. And God, understanding my weakness, gave me a righteous replacement for my worldly vices. From the moment I got saved, stirring Gospel music and edifying Christian novels were never in short supply, I was surrounded by them. 

I came to learn about Christian writers like C. S. Lewis (Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity), Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness), Tim LaHaye (Left Behind series), Janette Oke (Love Comes Softly series), etc.

Likewise, I was introduced to Christian musicians like, Amy Grant (El Shaddai), Rich Mullins (Our God is an Awesome God), Larnelle Harris (I Can Be Glad), Phil Driscoll (He’s Alive Again), Andrea Crouch (Through it All), and the Christian Union Choir (Please Be Patient With Me). God used the songs of these men and women to keep me from falling. Through their ministry, I was able to grow strong, pretty quickly I might add, as a Believer.

Keith Green was one of those Christian artists whose ministry kept me standing in the faith. His song, “Oh Lord You Are Beautiful”, was particularly instrumental in making me understand, very early, the Father’s love for me His child. And that, for me, made all the difference between my ending up a backslider or remaining steadfast in Christianity.

Rummaging through YouTube this evening, I found the old song. As I listened to it, over and over again, I realized the song remains as powerful now as it was back then when I was but a wet behind the ears Christian trying to find his footing among the brethren. 

Here it is, I hope it gives your soul wings.


Lyrics

Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I see,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I see,
For when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

I want to take your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to you

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear

I want to take your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to you

Oh Lord, you're beautiful
Your face is all I see
For when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, you're beautiful
Your face is all I see
For when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Songwriters: Keith Gordon Green
Oh Lord You're Beautiful lyrics 1980 © Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group

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