The song “Something More” – For Shane!!!

This post is for my friend and favourite theologian, Dr Shane Clifton. Shane has been a friend of ours for some years, and was our choice from the many pastors available at the time to officiate our wedding (and between my church, Tim’s church, our new church, and my job at a Bible college we were swimming in prospective celebrants). Tim and I married in a wintery garden about two hours South of Sydney in 2006, after which Shane became the Academic Dean, and thus, my boss. We’ve always loved his funny personable way of disarming people into authenticity, his quick-witted comebacks, and his deep devotion to God. It’s always struck me that if someone can decide to leave an accounting career to teach theology, they are probably called. Aside from that is his clear gifting in teaching and aptitude for research, of course.  And I was later honoured to use his writing on the Pentecostal church in Australia in my thesis, as one of the only Australian Pentecostal works available on Hillsong Church.

In October 2010, while we were in Italy, I heard the news that Shane had been in an accident, which left him not only with an injured spine but fighting for his life. In a critical state, he was rushed to the intensive care unit of a major Sydney hospital, and the email simply requested prayer. It was a huge shock to me, as I was on the other side of the world (and my heart went out to his wife Elly and the family, for whom I was sure it was a far, far greater shock). We were staying at the time with our pastor friends who live next to a donkey farm (true story!), and so I grabbed my Bible, walked out into the Sicilian mist and sat on a rock wall staring into an empty paddock, hoping to hear something that calmed my heart and made sense of this news.

I found myself opening the chapter of John 11. The story picks up on Jesus with his disciples, receiving a cryptic message in verse 3, “… the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”” I think my eyes filled with tears at the appropriateness of this verse, and I kept reading, to see Jesus’ response to suffering, and to figure out a Christian way of navigating the questions, and anger that arises in such a circumstance. Knowing that God is good all the time, (or so the rap goes) then I wanted to know why my Godly friend and his beautiful faithful family faced this situation!

Reading the passage several times, what struck me was not that Jesus delayed his journey, (although that did seem insensitive), or that he ultimately fixed the situation by raising Lazarus to life four days after his death – although that was poignantly incredible, and obviously allowed the disciples and family to witness a typology of Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead. No, what struck me most was the way that Jesus handled Martha. I’m a happy doer, and I love me some Martha. I think she has had poor publicity over the past years, particularly with Pentecostal preachers . And, despite Jesus’ infamous response to her complaints about Mary (see Luke 10:41 “Martha, Martha”), but it says in John 11:5, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus“. It doesn’t even include Mary’s name here. And while some preach that it was Mary’s grief that moved Jesus to action, it’s clear in verse 4, from Jesus’ comments to the disciples that he had already decided his path of action for this situation .

It’s the interchange between Martha and Jesus that I love, and that caught my attention:

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

What stuck me was Martha’s faith, in her very first statement. She greeted Jesus by affirming His power to change this circumstance. But her imagination simply couldn’t run as far as Lazarus coming back to life!! And whether it could or couldn’t didn’t matter anyway. Jesus had a plan, to which they were all about to witness. The important change or transformation in this dialogue is not that Martha understands what’s going to happen, but that she doesn’t. She doesn’t speak from knowing what is going to happen. All she needs to know is who Jesus is. From his words, the help of the narrator and our hindsight, we can see that Jesus had a plan, that he wasn’t phased by the circumstances, and He wasn’t going to leave things where they are. There was something more. And although he is stating his plans directly to Martha, she can’t get it. So he pulls her back to safe ground, to her belief in who He is.

While I sat there in Italy, somehow this became a prayer on behalf of the Cliftons and their extended family, and I started to sing, “There is something more”. And I still believe it. There is something more in this text – more than just the black and white words. There are nuances of tone, there is very evident emotion breaking through the words and there is something more coming for those who are in grief. Martha accepts that Jesus is more than just her friend, He is the Messiah. And Jesus, the Messiah has a plan for something more – for complete restoration.

I’m not sure why my friend Shane is sitting in a wheelchair right now. But I’ve written this to say, “There is something more”. The story is not finished, Jesus has a plan. I don’t say that because I understand the plan, but because I only understand who He is. And I hope that the knowledge of this helps Shane to get through rehab each day. And I hope that this song encourages Christians to pray for my friend Shane, who was already a pretty darn mature Christian but is becoming even more so. For him and for Elly… there is something more.

LYRICS:

Sit here watching the sun rise

thinking I could go surmise something

that you’ve already thought,

you’ve already taught before

Holding this book in my hands

I am holding its truth something that

you’ve already thought

you’ve already taught before

Faith clings to this

Hope sees the coming distance

And Love finds a door

There’s something more…

She is holding her life in her hands

Lazarus gone now Jesus is here

She says I know he will rise

Oh I know he will rise again

Faith clings to Him

Hope sees the coming distance

And Love finds a door

There’s something more…

She says I believe I believe, I believe there is something more

She says I believe I believe, I believe you are the coming Lord

I know you will run

I know that you will become

the one you’re destined for

There is something more

10 thoughts on “The song “Something More” – For Shane!!!

  1. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou Tanya for sharing this with us. Sometimes it is hard knowing there is a distance to go, but thank God we have hope that He has something more for us all. A timely reminder xx

  2. Wow Tanya. This is so beautiful- you are so beautiful (and you to Tim). I also loved your reading of the story of Martha, and share your hope in the reading. It is a very humbling thing to have motivated such an inspired song.
    Love, Shane.

    1. You’re so worth it Shane – so many people have asked me to tell you that they are praying too!!!! We love you!!! I hope we can do the song justice in the ward sometime soon. 🙂

  3. Awesome Tanya. Love your heart for God, His Word, Shane and his family. I too, have often found the Word to be our only source of comfort, encouragement and hope in times of despiar, grief and confusion; plus our relationship with God. Thankyou for sharing so powerfully in word and song how God comforted and encouraged you. Anthea

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