The release of a new album is one of the most exciting times in a band. There are a lot of mundane moments, but times like this one make it all worth it. It's been about three weeks since Where I'm Found released, and things are starting to get pretty exciting! Today though, I will continue the Story Behind The Song Series with my viewpoint on the song "I Need a Rescue".
It is nearly impossible to pick a favorite song from Where I'm Found because each song has a special meaning for me in some way or another. With that being said, I do connect with "I Need a Rescue" in a different way than all the others. That is because I was the one on that lonely island begging God for a rescue. But that isn't how it all began.
Back in the spring of '06, I became a big fan of a great new band called NEEDTOBREATHE. Maybe you've heard of them ;-) . They had just released their debut album, Daylight (which I still think is their best) and I was totally addicted to it. So one beautiful, sunny day I grabbed my guitar and headed for the Florida room--which was my favorite songwriting spot at the time--to write a song that sounded like NEEDTOBREATHE. I have a tendency to write sad, mellow music and I wanted to write something different. Something energetic and exciting. So I started playing. At first, I thought I was doing well. I was going to write a happy, up-tempo song just like I wanted to! I had the chord progression for the chorus written and I liked it. Then I started writing the verses, which took on a sadder sound. That wasn't what I was shooting for, but I liked it anyway. Finally, I wrote the music for a bridge. When I played the music for Sam, my sister and frequent co-writer, we both thought something just wasn't working. Finally I scrapped my happy chorus and turned the bridge into the chorus. My upbeat, energetic song was gone. But now emerged a much more honest one. The one word that Sam and I both kept thinking of as we listened to the music was "rescue".
Sam is the one to take most of the credit for the lyrics of "I Need a Rescue". I don't know how she does it, but on multiple occasions I have written music and told Sam what I thought the song should be about and then she took that and put it into words. But "I Need a Rescue" was not exactly an easy song to write. The lyrics for the first verse were somewhat of a challenge, the chorus was fairly easy, and the second verse was really hard! But the most difficult part of the song to write was this, "Oh God, tear open these clouds and rescue me". It took us years to write that. Seriously.
We kept writing bridges that were too long and wordy. And honestly, we really didn't know what to say. The song was already a confession, but then what? How do we get off the island? Is God going to come and rescue me? Where is God in all of this anyway? This time, we weren't just stuck on a lyric. For me, this was personal. I have a strange salvation story, and perhaps sometime I will tell it here. But the gist of it is, I thought I was saved at the age of five, though I didn't really trust Jesus at all until I was fourteen. Ironically, during those nine years that I thought I was saved, I never once doubted my salvation. But five years after I truly was saved, I was assaulted by fierce doubts that felt like they would destroy me. I had no idea how much of a wretch I could be after God had saved me. I thought that maybe I was mistaken. Maybe He hadn't really saved me in the first place. Maybe I've been on this deserted island my whole life and didn't know it. And I didn't know if God was going to rescue me. I had no idea what to say in the song. One day I read this half of a verse from Isaiah, "If only You would tear the heavens open and come down..." Isaiah 64:1. That said everything right there. Unfortunately, it still took us at least another year before we figured out a way to say the same thing in words that fit "I Need a Rescue". And then, even when we had written it, we still weren't sure if we liked it. This song was put on the shelf many times before we finally decided it was exactly the way we wanted it. In the end, it took four years until we were satisfied.
The end of my story happens after "I Need a Rescue" is over. God did eventually come and rescue me. But it wasn't a dramatic scene where all my troubles ended suddenly. It was gradual. I almost don't even know how it happened because it happened so slowly. One by one, my doubts were replaced, not by answers, but by faith. It felt like starting over. I had all these ideas about God. I thought I understood Him. What I found is that our human minds cannot understand God. But He can be trusted.