Written by: Laura Chambers (6/21/2017)
When we’re trapped in a painful place, we can find it incomprehensible to think of moving even an inch away from our grief and despair. All we want is to pass through the shadows to the light, scarcely thinking beyond that goal. We see those who have walked the valley before us now praising and flourishing, but there’s a disconnect that holds us back from believing that we will reach that peak ourselves, given time.
Given the tragic events of late, it doesn’t take much imagination to place ourselves in the shoes of those experiencing them head-on. Or perhaps you have your own story to tell of miles walked and sleepless nights. Natasha Owens is no stranger to the road of sorrow; having lost her father due to a tragic accident, she spent many an hour grieving and questioning. And like many of us, she believed simply exiting the valley was enough to hope for. Little did she realize what she now joyfully proclaims; God doesn’t simply want us to move on, He wants us to move up. We Will Rise promises everyone acquainted with grief that God has better things ahead for us than we could ever imagine.
“I Am Loved” reminds us that the words we speak and the thoughts we think go a long way towards encouraging or disheartening us. We need to remember our status before God – we are loved, free, and cared for. It has nothing to do with our ability or lack and everything to do with Jesus, who provides strength when we need it. The soothing lyrics of “Safe” depict peaceful assurance that in the arms of Jesus, nothing can disturb our sense of security. When we look back, we can see other examples of ways He’s been faithful in our lives previously. “No One But You” comes to a breaking point where all of the pain of carrying everything alone can no longer be borne. Instead, Owens offers all of her shattered self to Jesus, knowing He alone can bear and repair her brokenness.
“Your Love Will” expresses Owens’ certainty that Jesus’ love can bring calm to any circumstance, filling us and drawing us into His presence continuously. The words of the chorus pulse against any voices that claim otherwise. “Wings” speaks to the same dread that keeps rising up in our lives over and over, the past patterns of our lives we now resolve to leave behind. Looking back at what we faced, we can see the ways our struggles strengthened us and can honestly say we would go through it all over again if it meant that we would discover God’s goodness and closeness anew. As she puts it, “the same wind that knocked me down/Gave me wings”. “One Name” focuses on all of the things only Jesus’ name can accomplish. Rescue, shelter, and healing can all be found in Him. He is deserving of praise.
“Move Me” comes from a place of being stuck and unable to budge from the scene of the trauma. Though we can’t stop cycling through the lowlight reel of our hurts, we recognize that a power outside ourselves, that of the Lord, may be the only force that can propel us onward to new opportunities. Though we may find ourselves revisiting the pain again later, it will be with His guidance and comfort that we do so. In “New Eyes”, Owens recalls having believed she understood who God was, but she had only limited Him in the process. Freed from these blind assumptions, she sees things as she never did before, and thanks God for freeing her. “We Will Rise” refocuses our attention from our shattered surroundings, which can discourage us, to the strength we find in someone greater than ourselves. By defying evil and our own emotions to praise the Lord, we become stronger. We can be confident He’s up to something that will bless us, even if we feel alone. “Legacy” resolves that as we have become better for our trials, it falls upon us to make our lives a blessing to others. It’s the most important thing we can leave behind for the world; a life of selfless grace and mercy, of sharing the love Jesus has for us with others. Owens kind of makes me think of Laura Story on this track, especially the chorus.
Healing from tragedy doesn’t simply mean returning to as close a semblance of our former lives as we can. God has a much better plan for us than winding back the clock. It is His desire that the experience would bring us closer to His side, closer to each other, and enact His vision for our lives, something we would never have been able to do otherwise. We Will Rise ascends the mountain at the foot of our valleys with steps that become stronger the further we go. Natasha Owens’ message of restoration, refuge, and redemption of pain is a refreshing breath of hope at the end of the long, dark tunnel.