Ragamuffin

It was a quiet Friday night at the Hays’ house so Connie and I decided to watch a movie. I’ve been a fan of Rich Mullins for many years. His music touches my soul like few Christian singers I’ve ever heard. There are some events that have happened in my life that I can still remember where I was and what I was doing at the time. Rich’s death is one of those events.

I knew they had made a movie about Rich’s life, but I’d not seen it…until tonight. Wow! Ragamuffin is a powerful movie that should be in everyone’s Netflix “queue.” It’s not the typical Christian “feel good” movie where trials and heartache are all worked out and everyone finds themselves seated in church and singing God’s praises by the time the final credits roll. It’s the story of a man who loved God deeply, felt rejected by his father constantly, battled loneliness and failure intensely, struggled with addiction daily, and found his peace and strength in God’s furious love for him in the midst of the mess of his life.

Rich was greatly influenced, helped, by Brennan Manning, the author of The Ragamuffin Gospel. I first read the book about 10 years ago and since then I’ve lost count of the number of copies I’ve given away to those who have been beaten down by life, their own failures, and dashed hopes for their lives. Brennan said he wrote the book for the “bedraggled, beat up, and burnt out ragamuffins who desperately need God’s grace.” Rich found a friend in Brennan, a fellow ragamuffin.

I’ve always loved Rich’s music because it’s full of God’s grace, humanity’s brokenness, and the hope that Jesus alone provides for those who fall into His arms of grace. Even though I’ve loved his music, I never knew his struggles. Learning about the intensity of struggles added to my appreciation and love for the lyrics he wrote. During one scene in the movie Rich was in concert when he said, “This is a song, which is really a prayer I wrote. Tonight I’m singing it more for me than for you.” Then he sang,

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

CHORUS:
So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

CHORUS

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

CHORUS

You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

In a world full of strife and chaos, both in the world around him and as well as within himself, Rich found Jesus to be his “Prince of Peace.” I would encourage you to take a couple of hours to watch Ragamuffin and see if you don’t see yourself in Rich’s struggle. I pray that the intensity of your struggle will lead you to cry out, “Hold Me Jesus.” And He will.

 

 

Ragamuffin
The True Story of Rich Mullins
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