“I want you to want me”. So, begin the lyrics of a popular 1980’s song by the group, Cheap Trick. Now it’s played on the “oldies station”. “Oldies”?! Perhaps the rapid passing of time is the real cheap trick! But, I digress – even before I’ve began…
The other day, hearing the song, I wondered; who does he want with such desperation? Rick Nielsen, the writer of the song gives a few hints; but, no really solid answers. However, I think we can all identify with some of the sentiments. We’ve all experienced unrequited or lost love; whether it be romantic or friendship.
As is the case with many of my thoughts, I turned these into a prayer. “I want you to want me”. Isn’t that the initial prayer of everyone seeking God? Interestingly, that’s God’s hope for us as well. He wants us to want Him! God wants a relationship with the best of His Creation – us. That relationship is to be personal – He’s not as another song would have it; “at a distance”. Jesus promised us that He would “be with you (us) always, even unto the end of the earth.”. Therefore it stands to reason that He wants us to want Him.
The song goes on to state: “I need you to need me”. God made us. He wants us. But, He doesn’t need us. He does however, need us to recognize our need for Him. God is self sufficient, by both definition and Truth of His character. Man is not. I’ve heard it said that a self made man has a poor manufacturer. That is true if you were to consider especially the lack of replacement parts. We wear out physically due to the ravages of time in a sin filled world. God promises salvation from the permanence of death, through His grace as shown on the cross. We need Him!
“I’d love you to love me.” Here again, we cry out to God and those around us. Our deepest, most heartfelt need is to be loved. God’s desire is also that we love Him. That is why He gave us the often times less than admirable quality of freewill. We are created – but not like Gepetto with his Pinocchio. We are not puppets under God’s control. We are not forced to love Him – or to accept His gift of eternal life. After all, if we don’t like Him here, a loving God wouldn’t force His Presence upon us for eternity!
“I’m beggin’ you to beg me.” Here’s where the song becomes 100% human. God does not beg us – nor does He ever ask us to beg Him – for anything – although we should! We should beg forgiveness of the King of kings, the God of all Creation. Yet, a loving Father tells us, through His Son, “I tell you the truth. My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.” (John 16:23) If we come before God in the “Name which is above all names” – Jesus, we need but ask. Oh! We need to be sincere in our request, which will require repentance. But, if we are sincere, repentance will come easy, because we will no longer want to do those things by which we have offended God’s perfect nature.
“I’ll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand new shirt – I’ll get home early from work – if you say that you love me.” Hmm… I suppose I can relate to putting on “my Sunday best” for God. Now that’s not just because I’m old school and think that dressing up a bit for church is a sign of respect. Since God said He’s with me always, I should do everything possible to keep my life shining – for others to see – but also to be pleasing in His sight. As Christians we represent Him! That means shabbiness in appearance, attitude and conduct is not an option.
But the phrase “if you say that you love me”, is what bothers me. That is so often our attitude – but never God’s. Grace is unconditional love – no ifs ands or buts! God loves us because of who we are – His Creation. God loves us in spite of who we are – His rebellious, undeserving Creation. Jesus did say; “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” After all, He gave them to us to benefit our lives. If we love Him, we will. If we don’t, He still will love us.
The remainder of the song is not much more than repetition. Due to its scripting, I’m not sure if the following is part of the chorus, verse, or bridge. But, I saw another facet worthy of mention. “Didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying? Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dying'”. Here again, I think we’ve all experienced the heartbreak of “aloneness”. It hurts. It feels like our very soul has been torn out and replaced by a dark, emptiness which contains the weight of the world. It is that point in time when you just want to quit – it would be easier to just lay down and die – so we think! God sees our tears. He feels our pain and knows the hurt. Don’t think so? Then, why would He come from a Place of Perfection to live among us, lowly in stature and not enthroned as a king? Why would He suffer the scorn and ridicule which Jesus put up with while speaking and living the Truth? Why would He suffer the physical torment of being beaten beyond recognition and the suffering of the cross? Why would He have hung there – Alone – in shame, while his friends ran, hid and denied Him? He did all of these things to tell us, that when He sees us crying, He understands! Then He reminds us that as lonely as we might feel at the time, He is with us. Our God wants us and loves us and incredibly makes Himself available to us, not just as LORD – but as our unfailing Friend! I don’t know about you, but I want Him, I love Him – I need Him.