Written by: Laura Chambers (August 28-29, 2022)
Life wounds us in many ways. Some of them we recognize by the blood they shed and the markings they leave behind; others by the way we react and what we say, who we trust and what we believe. There’s only one answer, one hope for a miraculous healing. Jesus is our healer, the one whose wounds were inflicted that ours might be removed. Casting Crowns expands on their earlier release with the deluxe edition of Healer, revealing further ways the Great Physician restores us to life, wholeness, and faith. I love the honesty this band always brings to their lyrics, the way they’re not afraid to call us (and themselves) out on things (we sometimes know full well) we should and shouldn’t be doing.
The album begins with a lament, “Desert Road”, which confesses to wanting something different than the path God has asked us to walk. Even when we can’t see the purpose of our suffering, we have to trust that He is leading us towards something better. We can continue in confidence, because He’s already walked the road He leads us on now.
The title track “Healer” encourages us to turn to Jesus for our healing, instead of seeking the succession of empty promises offered by the world. He is the only one who can give sight to the blind; no religion or other person can. We need Him more than any blessing or solution we crave.
“Jesus at a Distance” admits to having kept the Lord at arm’s length, reluctant to let Him affect every aspect of our lives. We tend to surrender only what we want to or feel we can, keeping our favorite sins and dark secrets to ourselves, as if He didn’t already know about them. But we’re missing out on so many things Jesus wants for us; resurrection life, the chance to be part of a miracle. When we finally decide we’ve had enough of straddling the fence, trusting Jesus with everything and in everything is an enormous relief. You can hear the stress draining away as Mark Hall sings of laying down every worry and regret in the song’s bridge.
“The Devil Is On The Run” is an anthem of hope, declaring that Heaven has defeated evil. Even if the devil appears to be gaining the upper hand, he’s actually beating a fast retreat with Christ in hot pursuit. Jesus will never be defeated. Don’t give up now!
“Scars in Heaven” turns down the tempo, tenderly grieving a beloved one whose difficult journey on Earth has come to a close. The picture is painted of Jesus embracing them with His scarred hands, and the hope that comes in knowing that one day, we will be reunited with those who have gone before us. It’s what gives us comfort while we mourn and courage to live. (Crying while I type this.)
“No Hurt” assures us that Jesus can heal the divisions in society, whether it’s between families, friends, or nations. He is the answer for a world struggling with prejudice, hunger, greed, poverty, war, abuse, and sickness. The church needs to be an example of how people can unite in love.
“Crazy People” lightheartedly and rhetorically questions the sanity of some of the heroes of the Bible. After all, fighting a giant with a slingshot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. These days, neither do a lot of the gutsy things Christians do today. But these are the people who change the world – the crazy ones, by man’s standards. Essentially, if that’s what you want to call us, go ahead. A fun, upbeat theme song for everyone who takes a leap of faith.
Tension crackles in the urgent “Anything But Easy”. When we know we have to confront a friend about their destructive lifestyle, we’re afraid to be honest with them. It’s a tough conversation to have, but there comes a time when you have to speak the truth in love. If you keep putting it off, eventually it will be too late to tell them about Jesus. He alone can rescue them from the darkness.
“All Because of Mercy” humbly admits to having relied on the mercy of God for salvation. We could claim we saved ourselves independent of Him, but it would be a lie. We couldn’t possibly earn forgiveness, so Jesus paid our debt Himself. Hallelujah!
The country-flavored “2nd Opinions” deals with the problem of all the inspirational quotes and self-help jargon that you’ll find nowhere in the Bible. We need to read God’s word and find out what it actually says, instead of adopting the latest worldly words to live by. (By the way, “the book of 2nd Opinions” is a great term for it.)
“The Power of The Cross” testifies of deliverance because of the cross of Christ. The same power that made redemption possible also strengthens us to live and thrive, free of regrets and shame.
“I’m Still Out Here” is written from the point of view of those who have all but given up on God. Despite praying and receiving no answer; despite being cynical and bitter about whether God even exists, a tiny part of them still hopes that He’s real. We realize that their hurtful words are a front for a wounded soul. They want to believe that they matter enough for someone to come looking for them. We shouldn’t treat them like they’re our enemies. If we really believe what we say we do, we’ll keep trying. Our mission is to fight for people rather than with them.
“Song of a Broken Heart” is the believer’s response to that challenge. When we recognize someone who’s hurting the way we once did, instead of coming into the conversation with an agenda, we simply tell them that we understand what they’re going through. Moreover, Jesus, who has the power to make something beautiful of our brokenness, is no stranger to heartbreak Himself, having been abandoned, betrayed, and murdered.
“Gentle Healer” completes the album with an acapella account of Jesus entering a village and bringing healing, salvation, and resurrection to the people, as He did many times in His ministry. How it must have seemed to the people who saw this seemingly average man performing extraordinary miracles. Yet just as quickly as He arrived, He moved on, leaving many to wonder.
You can always count on Casting Crowns to give us the plain, unvarnished, hard-to-hear truth in love, with a dash of wit thrown in for good measure. Healer is the spoon on which the medicine of God’s word is poured. The messages found in these songs are a taste of the refreshing tonic that promises the full restoration of our health if we continue to take it daily.