"Circumstance has no power over you. Your inner weather is always and forever at your command."
Madonna, one would think, would not have too many top-charting Gospel songs, notwithstanding her challenged Roman Catholic faith. But as I listened to her song "Secret" just recently I developed the knowledge that it was very much Gospel-related. Perhaps it was the fact that in her video  she had a vision of various baptisms taking place – a traditional Christian motif of death to the old life without God, and new birth into the spiritual life with him.
But it was also the lyrics that caught my attention.
"Things have not been the same
Since you came into my life
You found a way to touch my soul
And I'm never, ever, ever gonna let it go
When God truly comes to someone things are never the same again. Mostly he comes during times of intense pain and suffering. That's how he finds a way to 'touch our souls,' otherwise we've got no need of him – that's the essence. We do not need God (apparently) until we do – even then many resist and continue to reject him. The wise person, having felt that grass, never lets go of the loving hand of God in Christ. Jesus is Savior and Sanctifier.
Bridge of the song:
"Happiness lies in your own hand
It took me much too long to understand
How it could be
Until you shared your secret with me
Happiness indeed lies in our own hands. There's not a truer statement – though there are a myriad of statements that are just as true. Even in the depths of misery, suffering, and desolation, we can do a lot about our perception of happiness. In normal life, when we're not in the midst of suffering, we can discover the truth that happiness does routinely lay within the grasp of our own hands.
I know from personal experience, it took much too long for me to understand the grace and power of God; it was not my time though. It was at my depths that God really shared his secret with me, and only then was I able to 'see the light' so to speak. I praise God that, in the worst despair I could imagine, I found the love I'd always bought but sadly did not know how to get. Suddenly I my eyes were opened to all sorts of unjustices, and not just in my own life – significantly in others' lives too.
"You gave me back the paradise
That I thought I lost for good
You helped me find the reasons why
It took me by surprise that you understood
You knew all along
What I never wanted to say
Until I learned to love myself
I was never ever lovin 'anyone else
Most of us are surprised to discover that God really does not understand humanity; and we finally perceive this truth, we're shocked at our own insolence. How could we, a creation of the Almighty, begin to even think that he does not care? He knew all along alright; right from the depths of time in memoriam. It's only when we know God that we can really begin to know ourselves – it's only when we truly desire to know and accept ourselves that we can begin to love the self. Without self-love how can we really love others?
Finally, the chorus (below) reminds me of someone having a salvation revelation experience.
"Something's comin 'over me
My baby's got a secret "
I remember bathing in the Presence, being baptized in the Spirit, for the very first time. Something came over me alright – it was the breath of God showing me his love and grace – as a deeply physiologically-felt force took my body and look it, bringing me to tears of praise and thankfulness for some several minutes. I was one giant goose bump.
Yes, even Madonna can preach!
Copyright © 2008, SJ Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
 Video footage from the live "Drowned World Tour" concert recorded in Detroit, Michigan in 2001.