Written by: Laura Chambers (May 6 and 7, 2019)
Life is a series of breaths, each with its own sound, its own significance. Our very souls owe their existence to the breath of God, as do the words of holy Scripture. So it is no accident that breathing carries us through the various phases of our lives, fueling our minds and bodies with the oxygen to keep going. We speak, shout, sing, cry, pray, run, laugh, and a thousand other things because of the air we breathe.
When our every breath is dependent on an outside source, we feel the fragility of our existence keenly. Every moment becomes a desperate grasp to cling to life, a dark tunnel from which we wonder if we’ll ever emerge. Martin Smith brings his own story to life in Iron Lung, assuring us that our needs and God’s desire to meet them will always coincide.
“Iron Lung” shares from personal experience how God sometimes deprives us of things, even air, in order to draw us to Himself. We find something better than our own self-sufficiency; the comforting embrace of a Father. Smith credits his experience with bringing him closer to God and putting a song in his mouth.
“Great and Glorious” recognizes the holiness of our praises lifted to God. They have the power to destroy the strongholds of darkness. Moreover, there is joy derived from simply being in His presence.
“Everybody is Broken” uses the story of the valley of dry bones to illustrate how every broken spirit, heart, body, and mind, can be renewed and restored by God. It’s not enough to reassemble the outside man. He wants to breathe life into our souls, that we might perform mighty works for Him. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with.
“Exalt” declares our identity in terms of who we belong to and owe everything to, the one we love and lift with our praises. Each of us is a living testimony to the grace of God.
“Rise Up” resolves to cling to God despite being beset by troubles, lifting praises even when things take a turn for the worse. He is still faithful and good no matter what lies ahead. I like how the song begins with singing without music – as if our faith comes from within, even when we cannot hear the accompaniment – before swelling with intensity.
“Runaway” knows God to be a relentless pursuer of those who continuously try to evade Him. Yet we still long to be found and known. He can speak life and love to our hearts, always knowing exactly what we need to hear. We keep finding ourselves drawn to Him in spite of our pulling away.
“Fire’s Gonna Fall” anticipates a great move of the Spirit, in which all who wait in His presence will be broken for the lost and shattered world. Our song is a desire for His kingdom to appear in our midst. We will all behold His love as His Spirit pours out upon us.
“Wonder Hearts” speaks of the awe we feel when we look upon God’s greatness. The irony is that the older we get, the more childlike we can become in His presence. Our inborn skepticism and pessimism falls away with the years as meditate upon His love and glory.
“Always Be My Love” contrasts the faithfulness of God with our failings. We promise devotion and wander away so easily. Yet we still try to surrender more and more of ourselves, knowing that He will continue to reach out to us. We love Him completely and find ourselves drawn to Him in spite of our failings, knowing He’ll never stop leading us in the right direction.
“Give Thanks For A Broken Heart” finishes the album with a song of gratitude for despair. Though we may feel like we’re being destroyed, our sorrow pulls us towards God. The joy of knowing Him eclipses the pain of our trials. In His arms, we know security, peace, strength, and love, such that we could never experience if we did not suffer. It’s something that’s hard to understand if you’ve never been through it yourself, but to those who have, it’s everything.
Respiration is the barometer of our emotions, the speedometer of our commitment, and the thermometer of our sincerity. Martin Smith’s Iron Lung breathes life into the human experiences of love, loss, and hope, leaving us with an overwhelming sense of the last.
Released: May 10, 2019
Label: Integrity Music
- Iron Lung (5:52)
- Great & Glorious (5:34)
- Everybody Is Broken (5:28)
- Exalt (4:36)
- Rise Up (5:20)
- Runaway (4:10)
- Fire’s Gonna Fall (5:18)
- Wonder Hearts (3:57)
- Always Be My Love (5:48)
- Give Thanks for a Broken Heart (7:56)
10 Tracks, 53:00
Buy on iTunes
More from Martin Smith:
- Back To The Start (2014)
- Love Song For A City [Live] (2018)