I love live music; don’t you? I mean, I love music in general but there’s just something special about a live show. More on that in a minute, but first I have to say: I’ve been to more concerts in the last 5 years than I had the entire 15 years previously, so you might think then that my love of live music is a recent thing. Actually, though, I went through a phase in life where concerts weren’t something I did and now it’s something I’m doing again.
I think my first concert must’ve been with my parents and sister to see Conway Twitty when I was about 3 years old. I remember bright lights and sleeping through it.
My first real concert though was the Steven Curtis Chapman Great Adventure Tour. I was 13 and have always thought of it as my first double date, although I’m positive that I was the only one thinking that. It was my youth leader and his wife and the boy from the youth group on which I had a crush. That counts, right?
So over the years I’ve seen a few bigger names like the Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow (twice!), Rascal Flatts (also twice), Lady Antebellum, Sugarland … a lot of country music I know … Jewell, Paul Simon at the Grand Ol Opry … and some of my favorite contemporary Christian groups Casting Crowns, Tenth Avenue North, Jars of Clay, and most recently Third Day.
I was thinking while at Third Day at how this looks just like a secular concert but it’s not. The lights, the screaming fans, the loud instruments, the energy, jumping up and down and dancing (yes, dancing, at a Christian event) is the same. But the difference is the Spirit and the Word (and words). The Third Day concert looked just like anyother concert but these guys weren’t just singing about broken relationships and hurts and love songs for the sake of capturing the human experience. They sang about those things with an element of hope! And they were singing about and to Jesus, and that’s huge! I mean, in addition to enjoying the show and being impressed by amazing musical talents, it was worshipful, like being at church or like what I imagine heaven to be like.
So, in addition to all that, I knew when I made plans to go that part of going might be painful. John was a bigger Third Day fan than I, and I played a live version of their song Nothing Compares at his funeral. It was a favorite of his for the speech made by lead singer Mac Powell during the middle of the song:
“Those words that were written and spoken by the Apostle Paul apply just as much to our lives today as they did 2,000 years ago when he wrote them. That in our lives, no matter where we could go or who we could meet or what we could see or what we could earn or be given to us or accomplish, there is nothing in our lives that will ever even come close to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I was prepared to hear the song and even kind hopeful to hear it, to see if or what Powell might say in the middle.
They didn’t play it.
But, what they did play was Miracle, and that was probably even harder to hear than Nothing Compares would’ve been.
The true story in Miracle is about a guy who drives into the woods to end his life and hears a song (a Third Day song, to be exact) on Christian radio, which was the only station he could pick up, and after hearing the song he decides not to end his life.
Well, as you might imagine, when I first heard this song on the radio many months ago I naturally wanted to know why I didn’t get a miracle, why didn’t John hear a song — his favorite Third Day song, even — and make a different choice. Why don’t I get to go up to Third Day after a concert, like the family that the song is about, and tell my story and have them write a song about it? Why, instead, is my story that a Third Day song didn’t save his life but was played at his funeral?
There’s no answers to those questions, save that God is sovereign and God is good and this is what He allowed to happen instead. So I trust He knows what He’s doing. But, the questions were there and the warm tears on my cheeks were there too when they played this story live. And while there’s a certain sadness to it obviously, there’s a stange peace too in trusting that God knows what He’s doing and our miracle just isn’t the same as others’. There’s miracles all over the place in how God has taken care of me and the boys through all of this and I anticipate more miracles to come.
No matter who you are and no matter what you’ve done
There will come a time when you can’t make it on your own
And in your hour of desperation
Know you’re not the only one, praying
Lord above, I need a miracle