Two songs came on the car radio: ‘I’ve never been to me’ sungby Charlene (1976) and ‘Cat’s in the cradle’ by Cat Stevens (2010). Both lament wasted lives that can’t be retracted and lived again.
But such wastage can always be divinely forgiven and God awaits the plaintiff cry of pain and confession notwithstanding no reversal. Great comfort always comes from ‘unloading’ on Him who is big enough to carry our load.
Jesus says today: Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew chapter 11 verses 28/29).
Glitter, not gold
The song: I’ve never been to me tells the story of an older woman wanting to warn the younger one that the racy life she had lived was not worth the long-term outcome. The young woman was a ‘discontented mother’ and a ‘regimented wife’. The older one says: ‘I wanna talk to you’.
It then recounts the older life resulting in loneliness. Her life of regret now irreversibly weighed her down.
She’d ‘made love in the sun with a preacher man’ and had ‘sipped champagne on a yacht’, had been ‘undressed by kings and had seen some things that a woman ain’t s’posed to see’.
‘I took the sweet life, I never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet…I spent my life exploring, the subtle whoring that cost so much to be free’. Never knowing he existed, she sensed too late the burden of the treachery and deceit of Satan’s lie, and his most successful con: duping his victims into believing he doesn’t exist.
Now she had ‘a weary heart that has lived a million lives’ but had ‘run out of places and friendly faces, Because I had to be free’: grieving that she was now ‘all alone…and crying for unborn children’ who would never be.
My friend wrote: Temptation, it’s such a buzz. It’s always surrounded by glitter, gold and good intentions.
And the heart-broken conclusion?
‘I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me’, sung three times in this lament of deep anguish. ‘Hey, you know what paradise is? It’s a lie. A fantasy we created about people and places. As we like them to be’. This dear lady didn’t know her true identity.
Then comes the humanistic part: the song writer did not know God’s truth for the older woman asks: ‘you know what truth is?’ The writer could have been partly right had the question been: ‘you know what earthly contentment might be’? But instead answered -
‘It’s that little baby you’re holding. And it’s that man you fought with this morning. The same one you’re gonna make love to tonight. That’s truth: that’s love’.
But God warns…
As we can’t turn back time we need to be: very careful how [we] live - not as unwise but as wise. (Ephesians chapter 5 verse 15). Tragically, many people are seriously unwise about their lives, their values and how they spend their time.
The good news however for those who finally do assess where they’re at, is that: Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. (2 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 10).
When a person is born again (the second birth) this time spiritually, they acquire a new identity: they become a child of God. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost to God. That lost person once found will share with Him an eternal inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade.
Such a dramatic turn-around is tremendously beneficial for the saved seeker. Generally not a speedy transformation to Christian maturity but the serendipitous ‘now I see’ moment that seems to come in a flash even if the lead-up time has been lengthy.
That person has just been graciously saved from the “empty” way of life handed down to them from father to son. (1 Peter chapter 1 verse 18). Light [Jesus] has come into the world…Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light. (John chapter 3 verses 19 & 21). Being the Light of the world, He illuminates the way to heaven.
As regards the song saying a baby and husband are love, well of course they are but the deepest and most expansive love possible is that: God loved His world so much that He gave Jesus to it that ‘whoever’ [this needs to include us] believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John chapter 3 verse 16).
Whilst the intellectual step from empty formless earth to created order may be large, if you understand the ‘argument’ for evolution then by comparison that first step is not large, and the step from creation to salvation won by Jesus is small.
The song’s message
The older woman, weathered and misled by her worldly life of ignoring God and now regretfully alone, it having passed her by, had learnt the difficult lesson that all that glitters is not gold: that chasing the rainbow of shallow popularity ultimately only brought hollow disillusionment.
Everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John chapter 2 verse 16).
The Proverbs were written: for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life…The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs chapter 1 verses 3-7).
There’s a world of difference between making a wrong choice (we’ve all done that) and actively pursuing a wrong lifestyle. How we live matters.
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html