Recently I listened to two different songs about women in difficult situations. The first was from Smash Mouth’s 1997 album Fush Yu Mang entitled Nervous in the Alley. The second was from Casting Crowns entitled Just Another Birthday. The first includes language which may not be safe around children, the second does not. You can listen to them both above and read the lyrics for the songs here:
Both songs speak of women in difficult situations. Both women have absent fathers. Both women spiral into potentially dangerous sexual situations. Both end up pregnant.
In the Nervous in the Alley, Smash Mouth tells the story of a young woman who leaves home at 15 and ends up spiraling out of control into drugs and prostitution. At the end of the song you are left wondering – did she and her child survive? What happened after she entered the car from this pimp? Where did her child end up? She falls into a world where she did not seek to be in; a world which is evil, vile, and destroying her completely. She effectively ends in a state of sexual slavery with no idea what will happen to her child.
In Just Another Birthday, Casting Crowns tells the story of a young woman who leaves home as an adult seeking male attention to fill the void from her absent father. She’s very clear about that throughout the song. She finds herself alone, pregnant, and in a hospital unsure what to do as the baby is coming. In that moment, she seeks Jesus. And after this moment we see her enjoying a birthday with her little girl freed from the burdens of her old life.
In the two stories we have women who fall. In one, the woman is lost completely. In the other, she is saved. This should provoke a response from us as Christians. In both cases, we see women in need of love, of respect, who are lost in lust. In each case, they were lacking something in life and it scarred them. In each case, they lashed out sexually. In one case, though, Christ reached the lost woman. Why was her story different? For one, the second woman did not fall into trap of prostitution and into sexual slavery as the first woman did. But, in the end, the bigger answer is that we as the church failed to reach the first woman.
What do I mean by saying we did not reach the first woman? We as Christians are sent to share the good news with others, this includes especially those who are distraught, lost in difficult places. In Romans 10:13-15, Paul wrote
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Emphasis mine on verse 14. If they do not hear the Good News, how will they be saved? If we are not preaching the Good News, how will they hear? We need to be preaching. Not literally giving sermons, but evangelizing. It is our duty as Christians to share the Good News. In fact, it’s one of the last things Christ said for us to do before He ascended into Heaven (Matthew 28:19-20).
We need to be sharing the gospel message with the poor, with the downtrodden. We need to do it with actions as well as words, trying to seek and save these women through missions like End It which are trying to stop and protect sexual slaves such as the girl in the song. The woman in the first song who was nervous in the alley is the downtrodden. She is one of many women who are in need of help.
In Matthew West’s “Do Something” he complains about how the world is hard, how he cries out to the Lord to do something to fix the problems of our day. In the first verse he says something so convicting to all of us who claim Christ. West says, “I just couldn’t bear the thought of / People living in poverty / Children sold into slavery / The thought disgusted me / So, I shook my fist at Heaven / Said, ‘God, why don’t You do something?’ / He said, ‘I did, I created you'” Maybe all you can do is give money to a lost woman on the street. Maybe all you can do is pray. Maybe you are able to raise awareness of potential social ills. Or maybe you are called to seek out lost people through an organization such as End It. I don’t know – but we are called to act. So act in grace through Christ.