By Bryn Rademaker
Welcome to summer, my friends: a time where we are given a crazy amount of freedom compared to the structured lifestyle of academics; a time where schedules are inconsistent due to summer camps, spontaneous vacations, crazy sports tournaments, and other activities we sign up for because there’s no time to do them during school; a time when it’s actually okay to be “bored” with nothing to do…
So far I’ve spent this summer traveling around Wisconsin hanging out with the coolest people at the coolest Catholic camps available. It was here at Extreme Faith Camp (EFC) that I was first introduced to our song of the month: “Land of the Rising Sun” by an artist named Ike Ndolo. He is relatively new to our Christian music world and becoming more familiar to this generation as his awesome talent spreads. This year’s EFC message of “David and Goliath: The Battle Belongs to the Lord” was beautifully captured by Ndolo’s song as our theme, reminding us of who we truly belong to.
My favorite line in this song is simple: I belong.
Our society often leads us to believe that we really belong to things of this world:
-I belong to my friend group.
-I belong to my sports team.
-I belong to my significant other in our dating relationship.
-I belong to my social medial profile.
Summer is not only a time for adventure and fun. Summer happens to be the most difficult time of year to fight against the temptation to believe in those worldly identities. The second verse helps us face this reality as we sing, “The world is in my bones; it makes me wrestle with you.” Each and every day, we are wrestling with the world as it tells us that we belong to hundreds of unfulfilling things, such as those stated above. These other groups, activities, and lifeless things gnaw at us and only give us temporary satisfaction that lasts a short time.
-My friends may not be around much this summer.
-My sports season will end soon.
-My significant other is also growing, learning, and changing, too.
-My Facebook and Instagram pages always seem to need modifying and tweaking.
It’s a never-ending cycle: excited, content, bored, moving on. These worldly things tend to put us in our grave instead of drawing us closer to new life in heaven.
Well, brothers and sisters, I have great news for you that comes straight from the word of God: “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s,” (Romans 14:8).
We are the LORD’S! We don’t belong to our friends, to our sports, to our boyfriend/girlfriend, or to our technology—instead, we belong to the God of the Universe, and to Him alone!
“Land of the Rising Sun” perfectly proclaims this truth to our world. Even when we wander, fail, and doubt… through the fire and darkness, through the sadness… no matter how far we’ve come, even to the temptation of the devil or to the grave that is our worldly identity…
God has claimed us and we belong to Him!
This summer, I challenge you to ask yourself: “Who/what do I try to belong to?” The sooner you can surrender over what you think you belong to, the sooner you’ll be able to believe in that truth of belonging to our perfect, merciful Father, and nothing else.
– Ike Ndolo was born and raised in Missouri and found his inspiration for writing/performing Christian hymns through his struggles growing up. His first album We are the Beggars landed spot #4 on the iTunes Christian charts, and his newest album Rivers is slowly climbing up the ranks. People tend to recognize him from performing at recent Steubenville Conferences. Other popular and soulful songs of Ike’s to check out include “Memorial,” “At the Sound,” and “Crooked Soul.”
Photo Credit: Bryn Rademaker, Colorado, Summer 2017.