I’ve never heard God “audibly” speak to me. It’s always been through a family member or acquaintance, especially strangers.
I was about to graduate high school back in 1996. My personality, my attitude, at that time was quite different than it is today. I was self-righteous and looked down on other people who outright rejected God. But I didn’t see my own faults and where I needed to improve in my own life.
I remember getting a ride from a classmate to go “somewhere” (?) and he started asking me what type of music I listened to. Back then, it was a lot of traditional gospel. He suggested I listen to “Jars of Clay” which was an emerging Christian music group at the time. Their sound was so unique, it went mainstream and took off. But I refused to listen to them because the slight backlash was, if your “Christian” music became hugely successful in the mainstream, it wasn’t considered “Christian” music anymore. You had rebelled, gone to the other side, etc.
After I graduated high school, I probably went through the worst three years of my life. Bad decisions led to predictable consequences. Everything came crashing down, I started to question my beliefs, my purpose, my future. Eventually, I ran into their music again because their albums were winning Grammys. It was hard to ignore them.
I listened to one of their first songs ever produced called “Liquid.” It was included on a WOW 2-Disc album. I brought the WOW album because I needed to start over. Whatever I learned about God since I was a little kid, I decided to scrap it. Throw it in the garbage. Start over. If God was really real, I needed to see Him for myself.
I didn’t even realize they were on the album. But when this song began to play, man…that was it. Stuck on repeat. I was sold. I didn’t care who they were or why some people griped about them. I needed the original album this song was on. Yes, of course, I found the song on the exact same album my classmate tried to get me to listen to years before. Funny thing was, my classmate wasn’t a Christian, but he knew I was. And he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t listen to their music at that time.
Anyway, I purchased five of their first nine albums. Love all of them. Then, I started listening to Rebecca St. James, DC Talk, Stacie Orrico, Newsboys, Jaci Velasquez, Plumb, and so on. Needless to say, I began to see my own mountain of faults more clearly which kicked off the long journey of adjusting my attitude.
Okay, fast-forward almost ten years, I was attending my first semester at Azusa Pacific University after graduating from The Art Institute in 2011. The promotions went out at APU; Jars of Clay was going to perform at the University. I was excited, but my class time was at the same time as the performance.
I went to class because…that professor…if you miss one of his classes, oh my goodness. So, class ends, I dash across West Campus, down the road, turn, down the next road to East Campus (it’s a big University), across the courtyard to… Well, everyone was leaving. I missed the entire performance. I started pouting, I was disappointed.
As I walked through the grass to cool off, there he was randomly talking to people, lead singer for Jars of Clay. I grabbed my phone and stood by him until he noticed me. That’s how I do. 🙂 And a nice gentleman took the picture for me.
Alright, that’s my story. Or…one of my stories. I have to point out that the band’s name, “Jars of Clay” is inspired by this verse:
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:7
It’s tough to describe who I was compared to who I am now…compared to who I’m striving to be. It’s my battle. Would you like to hear the song? That’s right, some of a lot is on YouTube.
Yep. It’s still good. 🙂
Eric Christopher Jackson