Several years ago I began writing a song entitled Unto Him. It came out of what I was wrestling with at the time as I watched what was unfolding in our nation and around the world. Specifically, another mass shooting had occurred and the devastation of yet another war flooded my newsfeed. I remember feeling both grief and anger. The juxtaposition was thick. I remember saying out loud to the TV, “Why, God?!”
And here we are today in 2020, only a few years removed from that season, and we are now reeling from a global pandemic, struggling with divisiveness of every shape and size within our society, grappling with the stinging reality that racism remains an evil that we must confront and dismantle. Again, feelings of both grief and anger simmer to the surface in my own heart and mind. As a human, I realize these are emotions that every one of us feel at some point. The realization that there is nothing on earth that will keep us safe from the kinds of evils around us is difficult to come to terms with. We want to believe that the means to rid and protect ourselves from evil exists inside of us. We want to believe that our human structures and governments can sufficiently protect us. But they can’t – at least not entirely, and certainly not indefinitely.
But it wasn’t just what I saw happening around me that bothered me most. It was what I was wrestling with inside my own head and heart. I was anxious. I had several panic attacks. I was afraid that something was wrong physically. Why? I’ve wrestled with anxiety for over a decade now. It’s a fight that rages and then sometimes subsides. It’s a rough cycle. I was also discontent. I was frustrated. I wanted things to happen that weren’t, and I wanted things to stop that were happening. Messy stuff. I was tired. I was weary.
As a Christian, I hate to admit what I was really thinking: “I know God is in control, but that doesn’t seem to help right now.” Maybe you can relate to thoughts like this. These are hard things to admit. Can God handle our doubts? Can He handle our struggles when our faith is not strong enough? The answer is yes to both questions. And it was in this struggle where God patiently and graciously guided me back to Himself and to His Word.
I am so grateful for God’s Word. For one, it never sugarcoats the human experience. God’s Word looks life’s struggles, pains, and tragedies straight in the eye and offers an alternative to looking to ourselves or something else for rescue. Instead of telling us to rescue ourselves, the Word reveals a God who sent His Son to rescue us. The Word shows us the God who works all things for the good of those who love Him. This is really wild. That means all of the good and all of the bad in this world is being used for us, not against us if we trust in Jesus. If you follow the way of Jesus, it will take a lifetime of learning and living to understand this truth about God. That means we can begin to experience hope and purpose while living in a world that continues to be broken from sin and its rippling effects. We can begin to find hope in the midst of our own personal struggles with sin as we seek to repent and walk out in faith over and over again. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always fun. But Jesus promises that following Him will provide the joy and purpose we all long for as humans from now and into eternity.
Wow. I want that. I need that.
We all want that. We all need that.
So the song Unto Him is an attempt to take God’s Word in the book of Jude and synthesize it to what we experience in life while reminding us that God is ultimately in control. Jude wrote this letter in the midst of a lot of hard things happening. It’s really a “heads-up” for us. Jude was fighting hard to keep the church from being perverted by heretics and anti-gospel teachings (Jude 1:4, 8, 16, 19). Jude called his readers, as he calls us now, to fight for our faith (Jude 1:3, 21). His letter is an aggressive call to go after those swept up in the sea of false teaching (Jude 1:22-23). He is calling us today to the same thing – build ourselves up on the truth and hope of the gospel and to stand in the love of our great God, to keep our eyes on Christ. But don’t miss that this is not a call to generate some mystic strength from within ourselves. This is a call to stand strong by the strength of the God who is truly able.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25
Unto Him is really a prayer. It’s a pleading with God to keep us in His love. I am painfully prone to wander. Aren’t we all? I get tired and weary. Don’t we all? This song is a prayer to God pleading with Him to give us the courage to stand amidst the breaking waves of life and know that it is God Himself who is the one holding on to us. And this is a prayer of praise too! Knowing and being comforted by the truth that God is forever in control of all of human history is the only thing that can anchor our souls. This is a doxology, a word of praise for the church to sing as we declare and exalt in God alone.
He keeps us. He is with us. He is with me, and He is with you, friend. May this song encourage your confidence in our precious, powerful and able Savior, Jesus.
Acoustic and studio versions of Unto Him are available on the digital music platforms linked below.