The strangest thing happened a while ago…..
You see, I never saw this man sing much before and seldom did I hear anything recorded he ever did. I had heard that he was very talented and had a great voice and had once been a well known Church music director in his part of the country and that he had been singing and playing since he was very young.
I listened intently to his voice and how he expressed himself, his style and it seemed he was worshiping somehow in a way I haven’t heard much lately. There was a kind of sadness in it all and I felt like weeping at times. I also felt the presence of The LORD strongly.
I thought, I know this guy. In fact, I know him better than anyone on Facebook or YouTube or any of the other social networking sites we all seem to visit these days.
There are some personal things about his life and his journey that I know that many others do not think about. This guy has been through some stuff.
I remember that he once traveled in a circle of some of the best musicians and singers of his time, a time when there was great anointing among the people, from brush arbors to tent revivals and camp meetings.
Man do I remember how hot it was in those times when we did not have air-conditioning, not even in our Churches, until some years later and we worshiped, danced and sang and prayed people through to The Holy Ghost just the same.
Seems like we depended more on the Spirit back then to make up for the things we didn’t have. I was sure glad when air-conditioning came along and with electricity came the Hammond Organ with a Leslie speaker and PA sets and having Church, got easier.
I still don’t know how we cast out devils and reaped such a harvest of souls without all the modern things we have today.
Thank God when permanent-press came along — ironing suits and shirts was a pain.
Some of the greatest moves of God I ever saw were back before we got so proper and professional. And this man singing, was right there in all of it.
They tell me he played every old kind of piano there was, on the back of pick-up trucks, on saw dust floors and in old houses where prayer meetings were held with only kerosene lamps before he ever got to play for a conference, camp meeting or the better places.
Seems to me he has a lot of experience and somebody told me he was a pretty good teacher. I also heard he was never rude or disrespectful to any of the ministers he worked for, or to any of the choir members or special groups he worked with, that he was a gentleman with a good spirit and attitude.
He did work for and with some of the best names in the state. He said he never had any formal lessons. I find that a bit hard to believe. I recall however that many of our people didn’t have formal music education back then, and they were some of the finest musicians and singers our movement ever had.
Their spirituality was utmost and that was the biggest key to their success. God gave them the talent and when they honored that and gave him the full glory, we had the best music in the country.
Everyone came out to hear us. God often used the lesser talented and anointed them even in their simplicity and everyone felt the Spirit. I loved it.
I heard this man just started singing again recently, after being out of it for a very long time. Something in my spirit began to stir.
I know how hard it’s been for him. I was reading another post earlier today about how Church people treat prodigals and it made me kinda sad.
This guy I’m watching now was telling me what kind of response he’s had since he started over and how most of the mainstream Church folk have reacted to his music, and I was interested in what they might have had to say.
He said that although he’s had some wonderful response from some of the people he once knew in the Church over the years, that most of the people he once knew didn’t seem to be able to find even one decent word of encouragement.
I can pretty much understand why. I know myself that when you stop looking and acting like your peers and your life is somewhat different than it once was, that these people have very little use for you.
I too have seen those curt looks and heard the snide remarks passed on around the camp about people who backslide or no longer cater to their conservative beliefs or agree completely with their doctrinal stance. When you’re out, you’re out.
He told me that in fact most of the kindness and good words he’s heard came from others who had left mainstream and were also now considered outcasts and liberals.
Makes me wonder what happened to all the love everyone professed to have. He told me that some of these had been a real life saver for him and he could not have made it without their uplifting remarks.
I know he also said he would not be here if God had not stood in the gap for him, that he was now totally dependent on Him for strength to make it through each day and that is okay.
The strange thing I don’t understand, is that some of the people, the very closest to this guy singing, who belong to the Church he used to be in, can’t make even one nice comment about his music or anything else about him really. Not a word.
Seems like a few said some ‘hello’ words at first, then just dropped out. What’s wrong with these people?
I hear the guy sing and I feel the Spirit in it, and it blesses me! So what’s wrong with these don’t-miss-a-service, sing-in-the-choir and even pastor-churches kinda people who can’t think of one simple word to encourage this man?
Wasn’t he their friend and wasn’t he close to them once? Maybe he just thought he was.
I think someone should tell him that it’s not just him. I have a feeling they don’t encourage anyone else either. I think it’s because he has a mustache, or it’s likely he forgot to put on some long pants in his first videos and they don’t like that.
I like the way he sings. I would really like to sing with him and I wouldn’t care if he had a mustache or wore knickerbockers.
He was telling me that he had a lot of Church musicians and singers on his ‘friends list’, but only one or two even bothered to make a comment, much less say something nice.
I simply can’t understand that. He said he deleted some of them. I told him to delete some more. I told him I felt that if a Church musician couldn’t encourage others or say something nice to somebody they were probably in the wrong job.
Who needs those kind of people? They’re setting themselves up for their own failure. God will never honor that. They might make it on a professional level, but not on the level where God dwells.
Maybe all these people know some secrets on him nobody else does, or they know some mistakes he’s made. Funny what he knows about them.
How can you not have compassion for someone who’s trying so hard?
I decided I needed to pray for this man. It went something like this.
“God, I want you to send someone to help this boy. He’s really having a rough time and I know he feels pretty lonely.
The people who should love him don’t seem to care. He has no one but you to help him fight this battle.
He cares so much for others and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for someone else but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.
I know he loves you more than ever before, whether they think so or not. There’s such a tender heart in him for others who’ve been hurt and left hanging by themselves.
God, I want you to send angels to stand guard over him and protect him from this discouragement and this loss he feels.
He’s willing to forgive others and has tried to make things right for his wrongdoings but it doesn’t seem to be enough for some people.
God, you know his heart. You made this vessel and although the very best vessels get broken, you are the potter, you made him to begin with.
You know how to put things back together that seem broken beyond repair. I want you to strengthen this boy. Show him that there are many others who do care and want to hear the things you give him to say.
Let him know again that there are millions of hurting and lost people all over this world who would give any thing for just one kind word, just one little piece of encouragement that says they are not alone in this thing all by themselves.
Touch Bob. I’m worried about him. He’s getting tired again.
Satan, I bind you in the name of Jesus Christ and I command you to get off his back and leave him alone. He belongs to God and you have no part of him, not any more.
He’s a vessel God has raised up in spite of obstacles and in spite of where he’s been for a purpose in this hour. Reveal to him just what it is you have for him to do and help him to remember to encourage himself, even if most of his past peers don’t or won’t.
He was once a mighty vessel for you and you said that a bruised reed you would not break or a smoking flax you wouldn’t quench.
Open those doors he’s looking for and help him to stay humble before you in all that he does.
There’s something about this man. I feel love for him and I know you do too. Give him rest and give him peace.
Work out all the difficulties in his life and let that nice smile he has keep coming through. And let him keep singing those songs he loves to sing and the ones so many have forgotten about.
LORD, tell him to forget those harsh people of the past and help him to keep his eyes on you and to reach out to those who want to love him today and need his help and encouragement.
He’s special. I can see that. I can feel your anointing on him. Some say he always had that but many of his old group don’t think that’s possible.
He’s probably not worthy but neither am I. None of us are. We’re only here by your grace. Bless this man LORD, use him one more time for your glory.
I know he will appreciate it and remind me to tell him I believe in him. I think he needs to hear that. In your precious name, I humbly ask these things.
Your will be done. Amen.”
First published: October 10, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn