Stories could quite possibly be the most powerful weapon when it comes to impacting someone’s life. Not the made up “Once upon a time blah blah blah” stories, but the ones that ooze from the heart real person.
Artist’s, writers + candlestick makers create from the core of their soul. Sometimes it can be scary, sometimes it can be easy. But when you look, hear or smell their work, you can tell if they’ve put their blood, sweat + tears into it by how deeply it resonates + impacts you.
Take the song How He Loves for example. When I first heard it as a teen, it impacted me greatly… especially when I discovered what the the song is actually about.
After Jesus Culture and David Crowder Band covered it, it became an anthem in the church + the cry of people’s hearts around the world. Many believed that Jesus Culture wrote it while others thought David Crowder Band did (+ some people got waaaaaaay to fired up about it). But it was John Mark McMillan who humbly penned the words + tune.
And the state of his heart at the time of its inception is what makes the story behind this song so powerful – written as a tribute to his friend Stephen Coffey.
See, Coffey was a youth pastor. One night at a church prayer meeting he prayed: “I’d give my life today if it would shake the youth of the nation.” And that night he died in a car accident.
McMillan didn’t write that song from a joyous heart expressing just how much God loves us; he wrote it while mourning the death of his best friend.
Lines such as: “I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy”; “If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking”; + “So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” resonates with people’s hearts because it presented images of God’s love in a way that hasn’t necessarily been done or sung about before.
But there’s a last verse to this song that’s only on his original CD. It says:
I thought about you / The day Stephen died / And you met me between my breaking / I know that I still love you God / Despite the agony / See people they want to tell me your cruel / But if Stephen could sing / He’d say its not true / Cause You’re good
How He Loves has shaken the lives of millions of people around the world…the impact Coffey had prayed that his life would be.
It isn’t just a powerful song because of the brilliant lyrics + images it evokes of God’s love, or even for the simplicity of its message. It’s a powerful song because of the rawness of the story that birthed it, + the courage McMillan had in letting the world see it.
And that’s what makes something created so powerful – the story.
We’re all created beings with a story, are you courageous enough to let people hear it?
Your life, your story will change the world.
If you let it.