Last night I had the privilege of introducing Travis Cottrell’s version of “Just As I Am” to my church. What incredible and powerful words that he has added to an already wonderful song. Before I introduced the song, I did my homework to find out the story behind the song (1). Here is what I found out…
Charlotte Elliott was a bitter woman. Her health was broken and her disability had hardened her.
“If God loved me,” she said, “He would not have treated me this way.”
Hoping to help her, Dr. Cesar Malan, visited the Elliotts on May 9, 1822. Over dinner, Charlotte lost her temper and railed against God and family in a violent outburst. Her embarrassed family left the room, and Dr. Malan was left alone with her.
“You are tired of yourself, aren’t you? he asked. “You are holding to your hate and anger because you have nothing else in the world to cling to. Consequently, you have become sour, bitter, and resentful.”
“What is your cure?” asked Charlotte.
“The faith you are trying to despise” replied the doctor.
As they talked, Charlotte softened.
“If I wanted to become a Christian and to share the peace and joy you possess, what would I do?”
“You would give yourself to God just as you are now, with your fightings and fears, hates and loves, pride and shame.”
“I would come to God just as I am” replied Charlotte.
Charlotte did come just as she was, and her heart was changed that day. She clung to the verse John 6:37 – “…he who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out.”
Charlotte later penned these words to the song “Just As I Am”:
Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come
I am so thankful that before Jesus will accept us that we don’t have to have everything “together” or “all in order” with our lives. From the time we were born, we were sinners. The world is full of broken and hurt people that don’t have it all together and that is why we need a Savior!
I love this quote by Abigail Van Buren – “A church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”
The words that Travis Cottrell added where these:
I come broken to be mended, I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued, I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned but he blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms, praise God, just as I am.
Are you broken, wounded, desperate or empty? How about guilty? Every person in the world has to at least answer yes to one of those five questions. You may not be broken or wounded, desperate or empty, but I can guarantee you one thing – YOU ARE GUILTY and Jesus Christ is the only answer that we have. He wants you to come to Him – JUST AS YOU ARE!
If you feel comfortable, I would like to know how you “came” to Jesus?