I tied my shoes the other day for my semi-daily run, turned on my earbuds, and set my “favs” playlist to shuffle before turning onto one of my three usual routes. It wasn’t until I had crossed the highway and started running around the park close to our house that I noticed a theme: each song my playlist was randomly selecting marked a turning point in my walk with the Lord.
Each song brought back a journey of images — specific scenes, places, and people — that God had used in my life. As I listened, it was as if the music was taking me on a tour of how God had shaped my own heart over the past few years. Hearing one song after the other, I could only step back in gratitude at how God had used even hard situations — and the scripture, prayers, people, and music that went with it — to do what I couldn’t do myself.
There is something unique about the way music speaks to us, assures us, comforts us, and sometimes edges us to do what looks daunting, that nothing else can. While that can be a dangerous thing as the message of this world can unnoticed creep into our lives, it can also be a beautiful thing when music speaks truth.
Well, in case you have been waiting, I’ll share what those five songs are, and trust one of them may speak to you as well.
- Immanuel’s Land. This is my all-time favorite hymn (partly because the man that inspired it, Samuel Rutherford, is one of my all-time favorite authors). It has time and time again encouraged me to look beyond the temporary nature of this life to the reward of getting to see “the King there in His beauty.
O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep spring well of love
No streams on earth I've tasted,
More deep I'll drink above.
It wasn’t until more recently that I discovered Audrey Assad wrote a new tune, which in my opinion is much better than the original. You can listen to it here.
2. Even If (Mercy Me). This song shouts the message of Daniel 3:18, that though we trust in God who is able to deliver us from whatever difficulty we are facing, we can yet rest on Him though the trial remains. For me, it’s been a song of surrender, of reminding myself that “it is well with my soul” is all that ultimately matters, no matter what. You can listen here.
3. Oh, My Soul (Casting Crowns). The declaration that “there’s a place where your fears must meet the God you know” is a reminder we all need to hear — often in this world of uncertainty. When things seem to be spinning out of control, I need not the reassurance that everything will work out but that my God is yet with me. Needless to say I cried the first time I heard it. You can listen here.
4. The Shepherd Knows Your Name (The Foto Sisters). I’ll never forget climbing up to the butte overlooking Glen Eyrie castle with this song playing through my mind. I had listened to it over and over again the few days before (until I’m sure my family was sick of it), and now, as I startled a herd of bighorn sheep alongside the trail, I felt more sure than ever before I heard the Shepherd’s voice calling me higher.
I love this song, not only because of its beautiful representation of the Shepherd of Psalm 23, but also because of the poignant reminder of a very intense time of growing in the Lord.
You can watch this beautiful rendition of it here.
5. Jesus is Mine (Jordan Kauflin and Matt Merker). I’ll never get over the fact that because of the gospel, we can use possessive pronouns about God. Jesus is mine because He has covenanted Himself to me — and to all His people — on the basis of His blood. For the past few months, I’ve set this song as my morning alarm because I need that reminder first thing: whatever the day holds, Jesus is Mine.
Fade, fade, each earthly joy;
Jesus is mine.
Stronger than fleeting hopes,
Jesus is mine.
Dark is the wilderness,
Earth has no resting place,
Jesus alone can bless;
Jesus is mine.
You can listen to it here.
I’d love to hear what songs have encouraged you in your journey toward Christ! Comment below and let’s share!