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The Only Real Good News

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

I turned on the car recently to the song “I’m So Blessed,” by CAIN, playing on the radio. The DJ remarked after it ended that her kids call it “the happy song,” and I understand why. It’s a catchy, upbeat song declaring our blessings from God.

’Cause on my best day, I’m a child of God On my worst day, I’m a child of God Oh, every day is a good day And You’re the reason why

I admit, the “I’m so blessed” refrain does make me cringe a little, thinking of the problems of “hashtag-blessed,” but I don’t think that’s what the song is going for. You don’t have to actually feel happy when you’re having a really bad day. Jesus is not shy about telling us we’ll have trouble in the world, and he promises to be with us in it, not to make everything comfortable again.

That said, while not every day is full of happy feelings, every day is good. It’s a day the Lord has made, so we can rejoice because of it. We are fully known and deeply loved, no matter what we’re going through. Our salvation is secure; nothing can separate us (Romans 8:37-39) from the love of God.

Compare that to a secular version—Pharrell Williams’s song literally titled “Happy.”

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth (Because I’m happy) Clap along if you know what happiness is to you (Because I’m happy) Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

It’s also catchy and upbeat, and it makes you want to sing along (if only because it’s stuck in your head). There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, thinking positive, or enjoying this song.

However, the contrast with “I Am Blessed” is significant. I know “Happy” from Despicable Me 2, where the sequence behind which it plays ends with an abrupt record-scratch as the main character finds out that his love interest is being transferred to another country. While you’re a child of God every day, worldly or circumstantial happiness can get taken away in an instant.

Our job as the church is to explain that contrast.

In today’s culture, the church as an organization is increasingly irrelevant. In a fantastic article, which I strongly encourage you to read, Kirsten Sanders describes the difficulties of articulating why church matters. There exist better social clubs, more effective aid and humanitarian organizations, and less corrupt groups of leaders. She points out,

If the product of the church is identified as social benefit, it would be sensible for a Christian to decide to volunteer on a Tuesday night and have brunch instead of church on Sunday. After all, the United Way has clearer outcomes, and the coffee might be better too.

What Christianity offers, Sanders explains, is a whole different view of reality. We have no more and no less to share than the Gospel: God is real, he cares about people, and he wants to be in a relationship with you, and a human’s soul will never be whole without him. That’s a hard sell, to be quite honest. But it’s the only thing the church has that no one else can give. It’s the only reason to keep “doing church,” and it’s important enough to stake your life on.

I’m not at all saying (and neither is Sanders) that churches should therefore stop trying to build relationships among its members, stop helping others, or stop trying to improve its character. Those are all critically important to being effective witnesses and doers of the Word. But we must be emphatic about our “why.”

We exist because Jesus founded this organization to tell people the truth about him. When people ask why we go to church or the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:14-16), the only solid answer is that God longs to meet us—and them—and that he called us to do it in community with one another. That will sound bonkers to a lot of people, but there’s no point offering a different justification, because nothing but the truth is worth all that effort.

Then we can truly sing,

I’m so blessed, I’m so blessed Got this heartbeat in my chest No, it doesn’t matter about the rest If I got You Lord, I’m so blessed

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1 Comment

Brandy B
Brandy B
Mar 22, 2023

Such a good article, Abigail. Abigail is right - read the article by Kirsten Sanders - such an important read!!

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