I wanted to point out one more thing in this song. If you missed the first blog, I’m talking about the song “God I Look To You” from Bethel Church by Jenn Johnson and Ian McIntosh. They accomplish something in this song that is quite difficult and often overlooked. So I want to point it out to you.
When you are talking about the goodness of God (and by “you”, I really mean me), we usually juxtapose it with the darkness and despair of the world. I do that a lot. When my chorus is going to be celebrating His love, my verse will have a tendency to talk about how horrible I am, thereby setting up how amazing it is that He loves me. But in all honesty, I think that is actually exalting our fallenness. We are drawing attention to the flesh, to the evil, to the sin and shame in the world and in our own lives.
What Jenn and Ian do (I hope they don’t mind me calling them by their first names, even though we’ve never actually met) is they use both the verse and the chorus to exalt Christ. The first verse says,
“God I look to You
I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision
To see things like You do.”
They indirectly mention the world as a threat to overwhelm us, but it is only the context of our looking to God and Him rescuing and establishing us. And that still sets up the chorus…
“I will love You Lord my strength
I will love You Lord my shield
I will love You Lord my rock
Forever all my days I will love You God.”
God has and is rescuing us and we love Him for that. I don’t have to spend my whole verse listing everything He’s saving me from. That actually seems to be exalting my sin and my shame. I am drawing focus to it. What they accomplish is to place the focus on God from the very first word of the song and never take it off of Him. Great songwriting. Grateful to be able to lead this song.
7 thoughts on “God I Look To You, pt. 2”
I see value in both ways of expressing the goodness of God. Many of the Psalms contrast the writer’s failure and sin to God’s goodness and mercy. I see your point about putting the focus more on God, but sometimes it helps people identify with a song talking about the struggle and God’s rescue. Maybe it’s not an either/or focus but a balance of both.
I agree with Brenda, I think that there is a piece that needs to be shared so others can relate, but God deserves all the glory and praise, always
I like the lyrics you posted of this song because I NEED to look to God right now. I just endured the passing of my husband of 40 years back in Sept. Then just 4 months later my son was in a fatal car accident that happened just down our street, so I have to drive past the crash site whenever I leave the house.
My strong faith in our Lord and His plan for us, along with all my friends and extended family members prayers that are being lifted up to God right now, for myself and for my deceased loved ones, is what is propping me up right now.
I will trust in Him and His will. He’ll see me through this. I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me. Phillippians 4:13 This verse keeps popping in my head.
This song reminds me to not be overwhelmed. Many of us are facing trials and tribulations. We are told that good things can come out of bad. I can already say that there were ones who attended my husband AND son’s wake and funeral services who were not on speaking terms with each other. It forced them to come together under a common cause, and I can now say that they are once again speaking to each other. This is a good thing. Just as people come together when a tornado rips through a town, and comfort and help comes from many others all united in doing good works for those in need….not just for them, but for the glory of His Name. Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me. Tragedy can force us to put our priorities into perspective.
First of all Todd, thank you. Yeah, just thank you. I pray that you would
come to see yourself as God sees you. And remember to be kind and gentle with
those who God loves, including that man you see in the mirror.
I just read this post – then went back and read post 1 (I read books that way sometimes too – so it might be weird, but it works for me 😉 ) Perhaps because I’ve been more than a little overwhelmed lately, I knew what they were getting at right away, and I actually felt relief reading the lyrics! (I’m not saying that pridefully – I miss a LOT- these words just spoke to my heart specifically this time!) I absolutely love that all of the focus is on God! It reminds me of Ps 34:5 – that those who focus on Him are radiant, and their faces are never covered with shame. That might be slightly out of scriptural context, but it just popped into my mind! It’s true that what we dwell on will come out on our face, in our words, and our actions though – and we all could stand to focus more on God than on His opposition!
Btw – I haven’t posted here before, but I had one of your lines – “I’ve got better questions than I’ve got answers…” going through my head tonight, and ended up looking up your blog! Thanks for keeping it real!
This is a good point; one that I think is especially pertinent to worship music. Your comment about this kind of focus being “great songwriting” is right on. I would agree with Brenda and say that the distribution of focus in the lyrics, between personal weakness and God’s power and strength to overcome it, depends on the song. My thought is that how much of your own failings you put into a song depends on what you’re going for with that song, and that from that perspective, overindulging your self-blame is just a temptation to distraction from your main message. So, some songs call for more focus on what we are saved from, to reach different places in their hearers, than others. As with other aspects of songwriting, the fact that a song is going to be used as “worship music” will automatically effect the balancing point of this as well, in my opinion.
The caveat: I am not, nor do I claim to be, any kind of songwriter; only a song-listener, song-singer, and appreciator of lyrical excellence.
Good point, I find myself to easily wallowing in how bad I am and forgetting how good and awesome He is. While that point of view can exalt God by juxtaposition how much better to put all the focus on Him