It’s early morning and I’ve been up since 3:30. I’ve been awakened by a song, Damaris Carbaugh sings called, “Whatever it Takes”. Sometimes God wakes me in the middle of the night because He wants to talk to me. This song is running in my mind over and over. The words are so haunting, and it causes me to stop and re-evaluate my relationship with Jesus.
There’s a voice calling me from an old rugged tree
And it whispers, “Draw closer to Me;
Leave this world far behind, there are new heights to climb,
And a new place in Me you will find.”
CHORUS: For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord,
That’s what I’ll be willing to do;
For whatever it takes to be more like You,
That’s what I’ll be willing to do.
Take the dearest things to me, if that’s how it must be
To draw me closer to You;
Let the disappointments come, lonely days without the sun,
If through sorrow more like You I’ll become.
Take my houses and lands, change my dreams and my plans,
For I’m placing my whole life in Your hands;
And if You call me today to a land far away,
Lord, I’ll go and Your will obey.
I can hear Damaris singing, with her deep, rich, alto voice resonating in my mind, and my heart is stirred within me.
I used to sing this song, without much thought to what it really was saying, not really applying it to my life. But, one day my first husband asked me if I really meant what I was singing. Then he said, “You’d better be sure, because you don’t know what the future holds or if God will hold you to the words you sing. Do you really mean, “Whatever it takes”? His statement and question caught me off guard. I hadn’t really considered the fact that what I was singing, God may some day require me to prove my words. Shortly after that my husband and I went through a very long trial. He had two strokes and became an invalid and I had to put him into a nursing home. I had to carry a full-time job, try to manage all the things he had always taken care of, take care of him, and try to keep my head above water financially. After a very long illness of seven years, God took him Home. Then I spent six years alone before meeting my second husband.
I learned what those words meant! My second husband calls it my Job’s Trial. They were very dark days, but as I wandered through that haze of feeling nothing, I found out something. I found out that deep down inside, I really did mean those words.
It was so hard, but God showed me how I could trust Him with everything. I found that I had no one else to turn to, not in the way that I needed. Yes, God brought people into my pathway to help me, but they couldn’t be the Rock I needed to keep me standing.
So, as I listen to this song in my mind, I question, why is this song running through my mind now? It’s been a very long time since I’ve played the CD on which it is listed. God, what are You trying to tell me? I searched for Scriptures where Jesus is asking us to draw closer to Him and I found Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” (NASB) Then the thought crossed my mind, “Am I about to go through a trial?” I don’t have to fear, because God has already proved Himself strong, and I know that whatever He asks me to do, I will be able to accomplish with Him by my side.
The verse talks about taking up our cross. Crosses are heavy. They are burdens we carry and can be almost anything that drags us down or brings us to a point of desperation. Do we try to carry them ourselves, or do we go to the One who says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29 NASB) Rest, that’s what we find when we draw closer to Jesus. Peace floods our soul as we lean upon Him to carry those things that overwhelm us. The closer we get to Jesus, the easier it is to carry the burden, because we are not carrying it alone, He is taking the brunt of the weight. It is much like oxen who are tied together in a yoke, they each carry a portion of the weight as they pull the plow across the field. The burden is lighter.
So, as I think about the words to this song, I can say, “Yes, Lord, whatever it takes, because You have already proven to me that You are faithful, and I have nothing to fear.”