You lose yourself in the fast life
In the fast pace of the rat race
Where no one knows who you are
And nobody cares
If there really is a God
And He has something to say
We would never hear it
‘Cause the noise is in the way
We were always meant to live a still life
Where everyone can see our real life
Be still and know who is God
These are the lyrics to what became a signature song for my 1973 album, “Still Life,” that launched the first half of my career as a singer/songwriter and recording artist of what was to be known as contemporary Christian music. That album included songs like “Setting of the Sun,” and “Simple Pleasures,” that were simple songs with simple, reflective themes, because life was, well … simple, and uncomplicated then.
Ten years later, in a song on my ninth album appropriately titled “Between the Answers,” I had the following lyrics — part of a song, “It’s Still Life,” that was in many ways a parody of that earlier song.
I used to dump the puzzle on a table
And put it back together in a day
But now it sits undone
The table’s overrun
With pieces no one showed me how to play
In one hand I’ve collected all the answers
With the other I’m just trying to survive
Living on the ledge
Hanging on the edge
Is keeping every ounce of faith alive
It’s still life
But not as still as it once seemed
It’s still life
And I never would have dreamed
That the answer would have so many questions
He’s the same
And it’s still life
It’s a little different story. Not to refute the simple truths of those earlier songs, it’s just that those songs no longer matched the reality of my experience. My life had taken on added responsibilities of marriage, family and career, and I was not necessarily welcoming those responsibilities with joy. Ten years earlier, I had all the answers. Now I had all the questions the answers were supposed to be for, and I was finding out that they don’t always match up.
If I were to choose which of these songs most nearly represents my current reality, I would have to choose the second one. That I am still dealing with the same issues I was struggling with 20 years ago is admittedly my fault, but in spite of that, He’s the same; and it’s still life.
This last weekend was the reunion I wrote about last week of our church youth group from the 60s. It was incredible. We sang some songs from those years together, heard some stories, and saw some pictures of our young faces staring back at us, and this is the one thing we could all say through the divorces, the struggles and the losses represented in that room … He’s the same.
Yes, He’s the same. He’s been with us all along, and we’ve come back together to celebrate that. Fifty years of faithfulness — not ours, but His. Fifty people letting each other know that we’re still here and still believing, and ready for the next adventure He has for us. As in the words to the last verse of our closing song:
May I run the race before me
Strong and brave to face the foe
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go
He’s the same … and it’s still life.
Join us in praying for those in Nepal who have lost homes, loved ones, and in many cases their whole way of life. Way too many questions for answers here, but in spite of that — even in face of such disaster — He is still the same, and will comfort all who call on Him.