The third in a short series of stories behind the songs.
This one is 'Linger' from Tim Sheppard
As one of the worship pastors at Gateway Church, I serve with a team that begins every Monday morning together with a time of worship and prayer. In January of 2018, during one of those Monday morning meetings, another worship pastor read the following passage:
“It was Moses’ practice to take the Tent of Meeting and set it up some distance from the camp. Everyone who wanted to make a request of the LORD would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would get up and stand in the entrances of their own tents. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside. As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses. When the people saw the cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they would stand and bow down in front of their own tents. Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting” (Exodus 33:7-11, NLT).
Then, he challenged us to become just like Joshua by especially devoting 2018 to God as a year of lingering.
As I began to spend more time alone with God than ever before, a song idea was born. The title would be “Linger.” I considered a lyric line about lingering in the Sanctuary…waiting in the Upper Room. The more I meditated on this, I realized that God Himself is our Sanctuary; He is our Upper Room.
Soon after this, I was asked to cowrite with Ethan Hulse, an amazing songwriter from Nashville. I shared the “Linger” theme with Ethan. He immediately resonated with it, and within less than an hour, we wrote “Linger” together.
Lingering is our response to God’s invitation to commune with us. It is born out of a deep, unquenchable desire to know Him. The One who formed us from the dust and breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, the One who spoke to Moses from a burning bush, the One whose presence overwhelmed Isaiah with his sin and unworthiness, the One whom the saints and angels now continuously worship before the Throne, tore the veil so we can enter in.
This same God invites us to lean upon His chest. How could we possibly ignore this invitation of all invitations? The All-Sufficient One who lacks nothing, who is completely set above and apart, not only by His purity, but also by His very divine nature, this One who is in a class all His own, has built a pathway into His presence so we can be overwhelmed by the sheer joy of knowing Him. Nothing else…nothing less.
It’s time to enter the tent. It’s time to linger.