On the oft forgotten and sorely underrated Kelly Clarkson album “My December,” Clarkson ventured into some discussion on God in the track Irvine. The hauntingly beautiful track is Clarkson crying out to the Lord asking if He’s there, asking how He does what He does, and seeking His strength. Here are the lyrics to the song. Let’s discuss the theological ramifications of this track.
The track opens with Clarkson saying, “Are you there? / Are you watching me? / As I lie here on this floor.” Answer: Yes. The Lord is omniscient, seeing what we are doing everywhere and nothing is hidden from the Lord (Proverbs 15:3, Hebrews 4:13). The Lord can see Clarkson and is present.
She continues saying, “They say you feel what I do / They say you’re here every moment / Will you stay? / Stay ’till the darkness leaves / Stay here with me.” Once again, the answer is yes. Christ feels what we do, He knows what we have gone through (Hebrews 4:14-16). He is ever present with us (Joshua 1:9, Psalms 23:4, Psalms 139:7-10) and dwells within those of us who have accepted Him as our Lord (1 Corinthians 3:16).
She continues saying, “I know you’re busy, I know I’m just one / But you might be the only one who sees me / The only one to save me.” I’m here to tell you again – Christ knows you are only one, and He is ready to help. In Matthew 18:12-14, we see Christ recount a parable about a lost sheep. In this moment, we see that Christ is ready to help us as individuals; that God is calling to us as individuals; that He will not forsake us individually – even though “I’m just one.” The shepherd goes out to find the one lost sheep, leaving the others behind. Each of us are lost sheep and the Lord is ready to help each of us individually.
Clarkson then says, “Why is it so hard? / Why can’t you just take me? / I don’t have much to go / Before I fade completely.” You know who else asked God to take them because life was too hard? Moses. In Numbers 11:11-15, we see a frustrated Moses who cannot handle what God has called him to do. He calls out to God asking Him to just let him die, just as Clarkson asks in the verse. How does God respond? He provides for Moses relief for his burdens (Numbers 11:16-17). The Lord calls to us who are burdened to lay them on Him, for He can handle it and will relieve us (Psalms 55:22, Matthew 11:29-30).
Clarkson continues, “Can you feel how cold I am? / Do you cry as I do?” Once again, the answer is yes. Christ is a God who understands our plight, who dwelt among man (John 1:14). He feels our pain and He has compassion, mourning as we do (John 11:35).
The song continues, “Are you lonely up there all by yourself? / Like I have felt all my life.” Is God ever lonely? This is a difficult question which people with a far deeper understanding of theology have discussed and debated for centuries. That said, we know this. God is self-sufficient and does not need us (Acts 17:23-25). We do know that Christ most likely felt some sense of loneliness on the cross as He cried out to the Father “My God, My God why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). But, we also know this is the first verse of Psalm 22. In this, the psalmist speaks of being forsaken by the Lord, feeling alone. We must assume, as Christ referenced this on the cross, they He knew this feeling. He also knew that His death was worth it for God’s glory, to reconcile us to God, and to spread the name of the Lord across the globe. There are many other reasons Christ came to die, but those three stick out from this passage of scripture.
Before repeating an early part of the song to close it, Clarkson says, “How are you so strong? / What’s it like to feel so free? / Your heart is really something / Your love, a complete mystery to me.” The Lord is strong because the Lord is, above everything else – He is the creator of the universe, perfect omnipotent God above all things. Period. What it’s like to be free is something we can discover when we accept Christ as our Savior (John 8:36, 1 Corinthians 7:22, Galatians 5:1, Galatians 5:13). We are freed from the bondage of this world (Romans 8:21). Through Christ, we are freed.
This entire song feels like a prayer from one who has doubts in the faith, doubts in themselves, doubts in the Lord. The singer feels lonely, lost in a difficult world, and wishes the Lord would just bring them home to Him. While one minute with the Lord is worth more than thousands of days anywhere else (Psalms 84:10), we are not called to give up on this life. As Paul notes in Philippians 1:22-25, it is at times profitable for the Lord for us to live and to continue to spread the Gospel of Christ even though being in the presence of God is better. As Moses discovered when he was overwhelmed by the requirements placed upon him by God (Numbers 11:11-15), God can answer prayers and help alleviate your burdens. That said, some burdens are yours to bear and you must bear them. The Lord will provide you with the strength. The Lord will provide you with the courage. But you must act.
Many of us have felt as Kelly Clarkson feels in this song, even Moses. What we must do is remember the promises of the Lord, remember His faithfulness, remember His righteousness. When we remember these things, we can be encouraged in our times of doubt.