I have a tendency to obsess over little things. My wife will tell you it is true. I hear something I don’t agree with and I can’t get it out of my head. I think about it over and over until I work out the next step.
Such is the case with the song, “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns. I first heard the song a few months ago on the radio I began to wonder about it but thought it might just be a passing song. Then the song climbed the charts to number 1 on Christian radio. Then no less than a dozen people recommended the song to me. As a result I have heard it over and over.
I am going to be honest; I don’t care for the song. In fact, I am a little concerned about it being Biblical. I am pretty sure it is bad advice to say the least.
Before you run me out of town thinking I am a heretic, please hear me out.
If you have not heard it do a quick google search or go to YouTube. The main idea is that life sometimes gets hard. Answers don’t come easy. And then he says the line that bothers me. “Stop holding on and just be held.”
I did a quick commentary search and found a few verses that told about God holding us. Psalm 139:10 says that God holds us in his right hand. But if you do a little more digging you will find that most of the verses that contain the words “held” or “hold” are about us. The continual call is for us to hold onto the teaching or doctrine we have received in our life. (See 1 Corinthians 15:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and Titus 1:9.) Four times the book of Hebrews encourages us to hold onto our faith (3:14, 4:14, 6:18, 10:23). Also, the bigger picture places us holding onto God and not God holding onto us (Deuteronomy 4:4 and 2 Kings 18:6 are examples).
The Bible never pictures our faith as a passive activity. My fear is that this song pictures that type of thinking. That the best thing for me to do when life gets hard is to set back and take it easy. Rest in the fact that God is there with me and do nothing. Wait quietly for some warm feeling to come over me and let me know everything is going to be alright.
I see the Bible teaching the exact opposite. There will come times when life is difficult and confusing. In those moments you go back to what you have been taught about God in the Bible. You rethink what you believe with a Bible in hand while on your knees praying. You hold onto your faith and try to learn from those dark hours. You allow God to fill you with hope as you hold onto your faith in him. Instead of being passive you should actively seek to learn what God is teaching you and how that aligns with scripture.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to be mean or calloused. Sometimes life gets hard and you need to take a minute to refocus on God. But that does not mean that I passively wait for something to happen. I catch my breath and then I grab a hold of my faith with both hands and hold on tight. I spend my time reading, praying and thinking rather than just sitting.
Fred Craddock tells the story of being at a Church one Sunday morning as they unveiled the new picture that would be on the wall behind the preacher each week. He expected some painting of Jesus but instead saw them reveal a big picture of the face of a bulldog. The caption underneath said, “If we are going to make it, we need to hold onto our faith like a bulldog.”
Maybe the song would be better if it said, “Keep holding on while you are being held.”