My thoughts and reflections on my Catholic Faith, Fulton Sheen, the problem of suffering, and books

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Song Review: "Here For a Reason," by Ashes Remain

I listen to Christian music a lot: when I'm driving, when I'm cleaning the house, when I'm bored/stressed/angry/other random emotion.  I have WGTS 91.9 set as the station that wakes me up on my clock radio.

Last September, this song woke me up:

"Here For a Reason," by Ashes Remain

I listened to it...then I looked it up on YouTube, read over the lyrics, and really listened to it.

I bought it on Amazon that afternoon. According to iTunes, I've listened to it 90 times.  This does not count the hundreds of times I have listened to it on YouTube on Repeat, because iTunes wasn't working.

I listen to it so many times because it is a reminder that I am "here for a reason," that my life has purpose, that no matter how stressful my job-hunt or financial situation is, God has not forgotten me, He's not going to drop me or let me drown.

A few months ago, I contacted the band on Facebook and asked how they had come to write this song. AR wrote back:
"Here for a Reason" was written in Nashville with Justin Ebach. Before writing it we talked about what we would tell a young person in the crowd at a concert if we only had a moment with them. We decided that we would want them to know that they are important and full of purpose--living breathing testaments to God's glory.

The title--"Here For a Reason"--says it all: it was written to tell all of us that we are "here for a reason."

The first verse comes in very powerfully, with these lyrics:

You're not forgotten, you're not alone
You think you're worthless, but you're worth it
And He calls you His own
Made in His image, you were made for more
You think there is no plan, that it's all by chance
But don't believe that anymore:

From the very first line of the song, this is a message: "You're not forgotten, you're not alone."

These are powerful words. So many of us feel forgotten and alone, feel no one understands us; however, we are not alone: God is always with us. That is His Name: He became Emmanuel, "God-with-us," (Mt. 1:23) so that we would never again be alone. We might feel alone, but we are never alone because He is with us.

God is always with you. Whether you're job-hunting and feeling as if you'll throw your computer out the window if you have to answer the question--"Why are you the perfect fit for this job?"--one more time, or you're struggling with financial problems or health problems or family problems, God is with you

He will never leave you. "The Lord thy God He Homself is thy Leader, and will not leave thee nor forsake thee." (Deut. 31:6)

"You're not forgotten," because God tells us (Is. 49:15): "Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee." (Emphasis added.)

Smetimes it's very hard to remember this; it's easy to get overwhelmed, to feel alone, as if no one understands us...but God does. He made us; He knows us inside and out, He knows us better than we know ourselves--and He's with us always. And He became Man--"tempted in all things as we are, without sin" (Hebr. 4:15"--so He understands the full range of human emotions and experiences.

So many of us struggle with feeling worthless, useless--"You think you're worthless"--but that's not true, not in God's eyes: "but you're worth it / And He calls you His own."

"He calls you His own." You are His! I am His! We are worth it--we are worth the Eternal Son of God becoming Man, taking on our human flesh, submitting to every indignity known to man, and dying on the Cross as a common criminal, all for no other reason than that He loves us individually--you, me, your cranky neighbor.  We are worth it because He made us and we are His, and "God don't make no junk," as some wise person once said.  We are worth it because we are "Made in His image"--created in the image and likeness of the Eternal God, created to know, love, and serve Him in this world, created to show the world His Image by the way we live our daily lives.

Because we are "Made in His image," we are also "made for more."

"More"?  More than what?

More than the ordinary, daily, hum-drum life of jobs and job-hunts, of burnout, of dishes and laundry, reading and writing. That life is not all there is.

There is more, infinitely more--and you were made for that. You were made to be happy with God forever in the next life (cf. Baltimore Catechism).

Sometimes we wonder: "Why? Is there a purpose? Why am I here? Why did that happen? Is this all happening by chance, is there any rhyme or reason to it?"

Yes, there's a purpose! Yes, there's a rhyme and a reason to the craziness! It's not happening by chance!

"You think there is no plan, that it's all by chance / But don't believe that anymore."

Why? Why should you stop believing that there is no plan? Because there is a plan, and it is infinitely beyond anything you could dream or imagine: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" (I Cor. 2:9).

The refrain says it all:

Every time that you wake up breathing
Every night when you close your eyes
Every day that your heart keeps beating
There's purpose for your life
So don't give up
Don't lay down
Just hold on
Don't quit now
Every breath that you take has meaning
You are here for a reason.

Whether you struggle with getting out of bed in the morning--"Every time that you wake up breathing", paralyzing fear that keeps you up at night--"Every night when you close your eyes", or any kind of stress that makes you wonder why you're here--"Every day that your heart keeps beating", you still have purpose: there is a reason you are on this earth: "There's purpose for your life."

You have purpose and meaning; you are worth it; "So don't give up / Don't lay down / Just hold on / Don't quit now."

Hang in there, "hold on," because "Every breath that you take has a meaning"--God has counted the very hairs on your head (cf. Mt. 10:30)

"You are here for a reason."

The second verse continues this theme:

If you spend your days just getting by
When you feel useless, He can use you
And show you what it means to be alive:

It's so easy to fall into a routine, to wake up with the one goal of "getting through that day"--especially when you're burnt-out from your job, and all you want to do all day is get home, just get through those hours at work.  That sense of getting by can make you feel useless, worthless; but God has a purpose for those hours of drudgery: "He can use you / And show you what it means to be alive."

Finally, the third verse is a plea to keep fighting, to not give up, to cling to this beautiful gift of life that God has given you and not throw it away by any means you might be tempted to discard it:

Every day is a gift from above

Don't throw it away
When it feels like too much
He'll be there.

"He'll be there," because He always is there, and if you open your eyes and your heart--even to a song on the radio--you will find that, indeed, you are

Here For a Reason.

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