Written by: Laura Chambers (9/06/2016)
One of the most powerful things about music is its ability to express emotion. Whether it’s the sweeping soundtrack of an epic adventure film, the whimsical background music in your favorite TV commercial, or even the song that still makes you cry years after first hearing it when it really mattered, songs have a way of slipping past our defenses and drawing us more fully into the moment.
As powerful a reminder as music can be of our past heartbreaks and seasons of famine, it can also become a joyous celebration of the great feast we now find spread before us. Love And The Outcome’s sophomore release, These Are The Days, takes that 180 degree turn hard to God’s right hand, making it clear from whose storehouses all blessings flow.
“Strangers” pictures Christians as foreigners surrounded by a land we must traverse to make it to our ultimate home. Yet while we remain here, we are given the task of boldly raising the light we bear to make God’s name known. We cannot do this until we ourselves are changed by God. “The God I Know” reminds us that were our salvation dependent on our own good behavior and following of rules, nobody could be saved. When we rely on God, we don’t have to struggle on our own, becoming steadily emptier and colder. He doesn’t just save us, He continues to sustain us daily and shoulder our worries, leaving us free to trust Him. “Galaxies” questions why we are so quick to disregard God’s role in providing for us and strive instead to get the next thing. We are missing out on so much when we leave His presence early. We have to take a moment to fathom that despite His exceeding greatness, He is always thinking of us. “Ends Of The Earth” sets off on the grand adventure that can be ours when we cast off a life of shallow pretense and follow Jesus wherever He bids us to go. There’s a certain discontent that pervades a life without struggle. Once we have chosen His path, why would we want to go any other way?
“Good Life” celebrates the kind of days that don‘t come around very often, where it becomes nigh unto impossible to deny our blessings. Some moments seemingly even have the power to erase all the hardship which brought you to this place. The song doesn‘t mention God by name, which would make it a good choice for a TV commercial if you’re advertising vacations or something. I guess if you listen to the whole album, you realize it’s implied. “If I Don’t Have You” asks a series of difficult, soul-searching questions that all boil down to this truth; we can’t make a claim about our relationship with God one minute and live the opposite way the next. There is nothing in the world so valuable that it would be worth losing God. The bridge of the song is a powerful moment of surrender, laying aside everything but Him, as it will all come to nothing anyway. The triumphant anthem “Gates” takes us from a place of desperation to joyful victory. Because we know that God has won the war, we have only to endure individual battles by remaining close to Him and trusting His goodness is greater than anything we fear. “Palaces” tenderly ascribes to God everything we accomplish; it is by His power and will that we gain and lose. As such, we must hold loosely to our possessions; someday, all we will have left is our hearts.
“Hear From You” affirms that our truest, ever-present source of comfort and wisdom is God. We can be confident in Him when everything is chaos, because He knows the past and the future. The thing to do is listen patiently for His voice, letting Him set His own pace. Others are incapable of providing the same comfort and assurance. “These Are The Days” recalls the fleeting nature of our time on Earth. We have a limited amount of time to make an impact and take risks. What makes action all the more imperative is the fact that we don‘t know how much time we have left. Again, this song doesn’t reference God directly, but it does refer to our time as a gift, and all gifts come from someone. “Louder Closer Deeper” reminds us that when we discover we are lacking, God becomes more real to us. We can hear His voice and develop a deeper faith as we learn to rely on Him. It’s something that you can be told over and over, but need to experience firsthand to know. “Paradise” shows how a man and woman can complement each other in a marriage. Despite both coming to the table with their own pain and struggles, as long as you remain committed, you can make it through just about anything. My favorite line in this song is “Even when it’s bad, it’s good”; indeed, the darkest moments can be overshadowed by the mutual love you have for each other. “Seek & Find” is a beautiful love letter from parent to child (the couple’s first child, a son, Milo, was born earlier this year). Though no parent can protect their child from every trouble, or answer every question that comes into their little heads, they can point their child towards God. He is always there for us when we fail or thunder clouds roll onto our horizon.
When we put the valley of the shadow in our rearview mirror and begin a new season in our lives, it’s only natural to lift our hands in praise as we consider where we have been and where we are headed. The honesty and certainty of These Are The Days, while not composing the entirety of your playlist, is certainly worthy of a few inclusions. Jodie and Chris’s joy, wonder, and gratitude is as much a part of the music as percussion, melody or rhyme.