“It changed my life.” We say that about stuff. Trips, encounters, songs, books, religion, people. When the veil between this world and the other rips open it does indeed change our lives. I heard a song years ago called “Silence of God.” It’s on an Andrew Peterson album that my mentor loaned me. I was in a place where I had given up on the church. Family struggles, church drama, and religious insecurities all led me down a path where I was just fed up with it all. I could not stand to hear one more person talk about how great their walk with Jesus was. Tree, that was my mentor, loaned me the album and I listened to it.
“Silence of God” broke me. In my dorm room, I fell to the floor shattered. The authenticity of the lyrics and the truth of its melody unleashed a buried and broken piece of my soul. I remember weeping and laughing and praying.
That song, just that simple song, led me on a journey. I found writers, musicians, and theologians that shared the same authentic faith, one unafraid to admit doubt or confess frustrations. My wife and I even traveled to “the hills of Kentucky” to see that “statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll” from the song. Few things have so impacted the trajectory of my life as that song.
Last October I sat in the back corner of a sanctuary during an Andrew Peterson concert. He was debuting a new album, “The Burning Edge of Dawn.” Before each song he talked about its origin, telling the story behind the lyrics. When he got to the song “The Rain Keeps Falling” I was already having a great time. The music was great, the audience was loving it. There were special guests and family and friends jumping up on stage to sing harmonies. All of it was joy.
Then he told us about feeling lost and helpless and afraid one night. He let us into a part of his life that most Christians refuse to ever admit exists. The music started and they played “The Rain Keeps Falling.” I didn’t realize how much hurt I had been carrying in my heart. I had no idea how broken I truly was. It has been a long couple of years. Ministry has been hard. Family have passed away. Life was happening as she does, not always merciful. Tears started to well up as I listened to Andrew confess all of his fears. And then, like the very voice of God, Ellie Holcomb sang out “peace be still.” And again, for the second time in my life, Andrew Peterson shattered me with a song.
There in that dark corner I let myself weep. I just cried. Thankful to be hidden by the shadows and somewhat anonymity of being in a different city. I crumbled and though I spoke no words I allowed God to see my heart and fears and doubts and worries. I rested in the voice and honesty of my fellow travelers on that stage. And then I realized that I was not alone. Across the room I could see tears and weeping and rejoicing and fear being lifted from the faces of the crowd. It was as if his honesty gave permission for all of us to take off the mask and just rest in the presence of God.
What about you? Do you need to rest in the presence of God? Do you need permission to admit you’re afraid? Is that mask becoming to heavy to wear? Take it off my friend. Sometimes the rain keeps falling, but if you listen very closely you will hear the breathe of God, a whisper through the rain saying “peace be still.”
I never thought I would say this about another song, but it’s true.
This song changed my life.