This Week’s Good Music

This week’s playlist reflects where my head was this week. I’ve been reflecting on my sermon for Sunday, which addresses God’s grace to doubters. So, here are five songs on the struggle to believe:

1. “Doubting Thomas” by Nickel Creek

This is such a beautiful and emotional confession of doubt. The acoustic stylings of an amazing trio only make it all the more powerful. “I am a doubting Thomas, I took a promise but I do not feel safe.” It’s heartfelt and revealing and can resonate with many of us. “O, me of little faith.” The honest assessment of self is needed, if hard to hear.

2. “Thy Will Be Done” by Derek Webb

Webb has been a resident skeptic and “troublemaker” within the church since his departure from Caedmon’s Call in 2001, and the launch of his solo album (She Must and Shall Go Free, 2003). Sometimes with more heat than light, but often with pointed challenges Webb has provided the church with needed correction. His 2013 album I Was Wrong, I am Sorry, and I Love You intended, in Webb’s words, to “‘afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted,’ starting, as always, with myself.” This particular song is a rendition of the 1834 Charlotte Elliot gospel tune. It is a personal prayer to respond to God’s prompting, God’s sacrificial call, with an earnest submission to His divine if hard will.

3. “The Truth” by Relient K

“Sometimes the hardest thing to believe is the truth.” From the 10th Anniversary edition of their hit album Mmhmm comes this additional track all about asking God for the help to believe. Matt Thiessen acknowledges the important reminders, “You’ve never lied to me before,” but the reality is still that faith is hard. Like many of the other songs on this list, the reality is that when faith is hard we need God, “We place our lives into your hands.”

4. “Promise” by Pedro the Lion

Pedro the Lion is David Bazan, a man who was deeply wrestling with his faith through music. Sadly, Bazan departed from the faith but back in 1998 he wrote this song as message to himself, “is there any reason that I should be scared, when a promise is a promise.” The band’s songs were often first person narratives and in this song the author wrestles with trusting a savior whom he can’t see: Jesus said he’d fill my need but my heart still bleeds, he’s just not physical. While Bazan has stopped preaching this particular message to himself, I’ve found it a good reminder to me.

5. “Give Me Faith” by Elevation Worship

This is a rather unique worship song. In many ways it sounds like much of the rock worship stuff out there today. Elevation Worship, the praise team of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC, produces the same sounds as Hillsong and Chris Tomlin and the like. Yet, this song is uniquely honest about the struggle to believe, and as such sounds as a prayer that God Himself would grant the faith needed. “Give me faith to trust what you say, that you’re good and you’re love is great.” I genuinely love this song!

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