One interesting thing about having a huge collection of music is that every once in a while, I’ll have all of my thousands of songs on shuffle, and I’ll rediscover a song from my past in a way that speaks to me all over again in the present.
Jars of Clay is a Christian rock band that was popular during my college and young adult years, when I was first discovering Christian rock (and first discovering what it meant to be a Christian, for that matter). Their song Flood, off of their self-titled debut album, was a major hit in 1996, crossing over from the Christian niche into mainstream music and charting on the Billboard Hot 100. I’ve seen them live at least three times, most recently in 2006 with Vega the Nice Ex. (Some of the popular Christian bands of that era I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen live, since I went to some festivals and other large events where many bands were playing. I know I’ve seen them at least once at a festival, and twice as the actual headliners of actual concerts.)
Jars of Clay never really replicated that early mainstream success. They experimented with different sounds over the years, and although I have all of their first seven studio albums, their self-titled debut will probably always be my favorite. But there are some good songs off of their other albums (as well as some recent work which I haven’t heard at all; maybe I’ll have to check them out one of these days). The song “The Eleventh Hour,” from the 2002 album of the same title, came up on shuffle recently, and I hadn’t heard it in a while, and it had probably been even longer since I had actually paid attention to the lyrics.
The English phrase “the eleventh hour,” which like the phrase “jars of clay” is derived from a passage in the New Testament, refers to the last minute, a time in which it is almost too late. (Some modern translations use modern methods of timekeeping in that passage instead of the words “eleventh hour”; the NIV, for example, says “five in the afternoon.”)
The song says:
Rescue me from waiting on this line.
I won’t give up on giving you the chance to blow my mind.
Let the eleventh hour quickly pass me by.
I’ll find you when I think I’m out of time.
Sometimes I feel like I’m out of time. Sometimes I feel like my best years are past me, having been wasted drowning in fear and self-doubt. Sometimes I feel like I could have been happy and had a more fulfilling life if I had done things differently in my younger years. Sometimes it feels too late to be successful financially, or too late to meet that special someone and find a family, or too late to find a place where I belong. God, rescue me. I won’t give up on you. I can still find God, and he can still do wonderful things with my life, even if I think I’m out of time.
As I’ve been writing this, two other Jars of Clay songs came up on shuffle. Maybe God is telling me he approves of my topic for this week, or that one of my readers needed to hear this.
Don’t give up on God.