Lyrics that help to heal

I’ve always liked music. As a child I fiddled around with the piano and organ. I gave the trumpet a try in the 5th grade before health issues forced me to stop. While I can’t carry a tune in a bucket my iPod has enough music of many genre’s on it that it would take over 7 days to play them all, whether I sing along to them or not.

I think music speaks to the human soul on a variety of levels. The other day I heard for the first time a song played on KLOVE radio by the artist Plumb. I’m now a HUGE fan of the artist!

The poetry that is Need You Now reaches deep within the human soul in a way that, at least to me, immediately reminded me of the first time I read Psalm 77 from The Message Version. It was during a deep episode of depression that I came across the passage in a version of the Bible I had only heard of, but had to go out and purchase after reading an article that quoted the passage. I won’t reprint all of Psalm 77 for you: here’s the link to read it for yourself. I will, however, attempt to juxtapose it with the lyrics of this song and some thoughts of my own.

The first time I read Psalm 77 in The Message Version the first couple of verses literally jumped off the page at me. The raw emotion and unvarnished honesty of the words as I read them several years ago seem not only matched what I was going through at the time, but almost seem to mirror those as I imagine the thoughts of the writer who penned the lyrics in Need You Now. Couple that with what we know as human beings about all that goes into the human condition — the joy and the pain — and is there any wonder why songs such as this speak deeply into our souls?

PSALM 77:1-2

I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might,
I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens.

I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord;
my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal.
When friends said, “Everything will turn out all right,”
I didn’t believe a word they said.

CHORUS OF NEED YOU NOW:

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?

I have no idea if the artist who wrote these lyrics here is relating them to Psalm 77, but the two seem to fit well together that I find the correlation between the two amazing to say the least.

Need You Now

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

Chorus:
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh, I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

Chorus:
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh, I need you
God, I need you now.

Oh I walk, Oh I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

Chorus:
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh, I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh, I need you
God, I need you now
I need you now
I need you now

Personal Observations

We’ve all been there to some degree or another, that dark place that causes us to question God and to scream at the top of our lungs like Asaph in Psalm 77: “God please take this… Just make the pain go away!” Isn’t that in large part what drives some to the brink of suicide: the overwhelming desire to just make the pain go away?

It’s only through the hindsight that God provides sometimes months, sometimes years later, where we see the instances or the circumstances God used to provide the “strength to just keep breathing.”

Earlier this week I discovered in my Bible time that this strength to “just keep breathing” is yet another gift from God that we sometimes almost brush off in passing, as if God’s gift of faith is anything less than a marvelous mystery and magnificent measure of mercy from God’s own hand. The Bible teaches that even our faith is a gift from God — we don’t even have the power within ourselves to muster it up on our own, even thought (and here’s just one of many mysteries from God’s Word) we have the ability to choose whether or not we want to accept it.

So, if everybody’s got a story to tell, then it’s incumbent upon us to find the words and the way in which to tell it, if for nothing else, to offer the encouragement that God’s Word tells us to in Ephesians 4:29 and 1 Thessalonians 5:11, but most importantly, because we’re called to such compassion.

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