This month’s LifeWay Songs Worship Song of the Month is “Nothing Shakes the Hope” by Tony Wood, Ryan Langford & Don Koch.
“…We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the Hope set before us. For we have this Hope as an anchor for our soul…” Hebrew 6:18-19
I am one of those weird worship leaders who will register for a worship conference and attend every songwriter workshop available. I do my best to play it cool and not go all “fan-girl” on the workshop leaders. But in reality, I am hanging on every word in hopes to find a nugget that provides the spark of inspiration to write a new song. I believe songs are a gift from the Lord. There is a beauty and mystery in songwriting that feeds my soul and draws me back time and again.
I remember sitting in a writing session taught by Jason Ingram at the Experience Conference in Orlando, FL. He made a profound statement which impacted my thoughts on writing songs of worship. The core concept is this: worship leaders remain authentic in their writing by expressing prayers and declarations of faith, of which we know to be true, even when our emotions might not feel them in the moment. Let that sink in.
In the middle of trials and difficult circumstances we may have moments of doubt or fear, and we may not respond in the way we want to, or believe we should. Our tendency might be to shy away from writing songs of faith in these moments. But I would propose we take a different approach. As we hold fast to Jesus, let’s allow our prayers and deep statements of faith to become songs that echo in our heart until our emotions move in line with the truth.
I believe the same principle applies to the songs we sing. Songs of worship are both declarative anthems and firm reminders of the truth we believe. This is one reason songs are so important in the life of a believer. Many times, we sing and repeat songs of faith over and over, until our hearts are surrendered to truth.
I remember the moment in the Medical Center in Houston, TX when I heard the words: “Your mom has an aggressive form of cancer called Glioblastoma. The location of the tumor is on her brain stem. Due to it’s proximity and the invasive risks we are unable to operate. We can try radiation and chemotherapy but there is no way to know if the treatment will extend her life more than a few days. There is truly nothing we can do.
This was a complete shock. My mother was strong and healthy. She spent 40 years exercising and eating healthy. But at the young age of 62 she began having symptoms of tingling and numbness in her foot, and within a few months she was in heaven with her Savior. It all happened so quickly.
I cannot express the sorrow I felt. Even today the suddenness of her passing is beyond words. In that moment, my faith was tested more than I could have imagined. I found myself crying out to Jesus to be my anchor and my refuge. And in the suffering and sorrow, songs of faith became a salve in the healing process.
Songs like “Nothing Shake the Hope” express epic expressions of hope and faith. These anthems help shape our walk with Christ as they continue to point us to the true answer in our time of need. As believers, we are not always shining examples of unshakeable faith. In fact, scripture is filled with individuals who are flawed and fickle and yet God shows himself strong on their behalf and transforms them to become example of faith for all the saints.
In the trials and storms of life we might be tempted to resist singing or writing songs of worship in an attempt to be “honest” with our true feelings. Let me challenge us to take a different approach. Sing in the difficult seasons of life. Sing words of faith and truth! Let’s write our prayers as melodies to the Lord. Allow anthems like “Nothing Shakes the Hope” to be melodic expressions of faith and truth as we hold fast to our rock and redeemer: Jesus.