~by Donna Kauffman
Growing up as a little farm girl in Michigan, my world consisted of about a twenty mile radius. It was during those days when phonograph records were popular. I remember when the long-play albums came in and my parents purchased one.
There was one record I especially loved. I had always been a fan of accapella music and especially hymns. I’d put the album on the family record player and sing along with every song. Until—the singers began singing the song, It May Not Be On The Mountain’s Height (Mary Brown)
As the words rang out my heart would feel faint.
“It may not be on the mountain’s height,
Or over the stormy sea;
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me;
But if, by a still small voice, He calls,
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord,
with my hand in Thine,
I’ll go where You want me to go.”
I couldn’t sing along. The battle raged within my young soul. I felt torn between my longing to sing with the recording and the fear that gripped my heart. “But Lord,” I argued, “I don’t think I can go over the mountain top. I’m sure I can’t go over the stormy sea.” By then the chorus swelled with it’s stinging message.
“I’ll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord,
Over mountain, or plain, or sea;”
The battle wore on, “Lord, I want to be willing. I want to be able to sing this.” Way back then as a nine-year-old girl, I heard Him calling to my impressionable heart as I battled within. My tiny world of twenty miles was the only thing that hinted security to me.
I remember the literal fear I felt, but—I determined to obey. I committed to surrender. In the deepest fragment of my heart I knew God was the One I longed for more than anything else.
And so I would whisper to Him, “Ok, Lord, I will, I’ll go,” and in tinier words, “But please to my neighbor just across the street.”
“Oh Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,
Tho’ dark and rugged the way,”
I’d nearly shudder as I quietly sang the words— as if believing I was committing myself to obedience, yet secretly hoping if I spoke the words quietly enough, maybe He wouldn’thear.
“So trusting my all to Thy tender care,
And knowing Thou lovest me,
I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
I’ll be what You want me to be.”
Thus would be my battle, day after day, as I listened. In my heart, I devoted myself to His call, whatever the Lord’s invitation might be. Looking back forty plus years to responding to the Father’s bidding as that little girl, I’ve embraced joy-filled and desolate pathways within the journey. As I’ve wandered over mountain and sea in the depths of my heart, I can only say it’s been rich. I’ll forever give thanks for the sunshine of redemption the Father has shone over each shadowy turn of my walk. In the midst of adversity I have found what I wanted more than anything else. That hunger was for the very presence of the Father—deeply knowing Him. Grief in my journey awakened in me a desperate longing to know God, not just to know about Him. I bow in reverence and worship as I continue on the journey.
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