Christian Music

Confessions: On Bad CCM Lyrics and Doubt

Confession: I don’t know if it makes me a bad Christian to say this, but there are times when I am listening to K-LOVE driving down the road and I just have to turn it off because I find it so irritating (and not just when they are doing fundraising.) I completely believe that the songwriters have great intentions and that many people are blessed by these songs, but sometimes I just can’t believe they got away with some of those lyrics. My husband and I have often ranted to each other that it is possible to write intelligent, true, and powerful lyrics about God. Look at some of the great hymns. I don’t think you should be able to cop-out on writing good lyrics just because your song is about God.

For example, Kutless’s “That’s What Faith Can Do” contains the lyrics, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard/Impossible is not a word/It’s just a reason for someone not to try.” Ok, this makes no sense. Last time I checked, “impossible” is actually a word.. See what I did there. I just used it. I think what he’s looking for is more like “impossible is just a word, not a reason for someone not to try.”

Here’s another great one, Natalie Grant’s “Human”: “I’m human/You’re human/ We are…we are human” It’s a power anthem, and you’ve gotta love that, but these lyrics make it like a Christian version of Rebecca Black’s “Friday.”

But a personal favorite has to be Amy Grant’s, “Better than a Hallelujah” : “We pour out or miseries, God just hears a melody…” So…God rejoices when we suffer and hears our cries of agony as sweet, sweet music?

The redeeming factor in this song for me is that although I think she butchered the delivery, I understand what Amy’s trying to say and I couldn’t agree more. I think God does appreciate our honesty and humility before him. I think he delights in our coming to him with needs instead of only coming to him when we feel like we’ve got everything under control. I think God welcomes our questions, our doubts, and our fears as readily as he welcomes our praises. And right now I am so very glad he does.

Confession: I struggle with doubt. While a part of me remains steadfastly convinced of God’s goodness, his love for me and all people, and his plan for my life, another part of me wonders if it’s true. There are moments when my faith is so real to me that everything around me radiates the truth of it. And there are moments when I just can’t seem to make sense of it and it all seems just a little too ridiculous.

I used to be afraid of the doubt, and especially afraid to express it to anyone. Like if I said it out loud, I’d be renouncing my faith or turning my back on God. I especially feared that anyone I shared Doubt with would think I was experiencing serious spiritual crisis and try to rehabilitate me. Or simply be frightened of me. And of course, I’ve felt it would be the ultimate failure in being a godly wife. But lately I’ve been seeing it a little differently. I’ve been thinking about Doubt as a gift, perhaps even a friend.

Doubt reminds me that I am not God. If I was God, I wouldn’t doubt…I’d know. And the fact that I don’t know reminds me why I need a God who does know. Everything. Doubt reminds me of how small I am and how much I still don’t know. Mostly though, I’ve been comforted to realize that God is not surprised by my doubts. I think he expects them. When Christ was resurrected, Thomas refused to believe it was true until he had seen the wounds on his hands and put his hand into Christ’s side. We always cite this as such an embarrassing story for Thomas, but I don’t think it has to be seen that way. Consider how Jesus responds when he appears to Thomas. He says to him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” I think Thomas genuinely wanted to believe, but he struggled with doubt and the doubt got the best of him. Jesus makes it clear that it was better for those who believed without having to see, and yet…he still chooses to appear to Thomas. He still chooses to address Thomas’s doubts and to dispel them.

Sometimes I believe wholeheartedly. But sometimes, like Thomas, I want to believe but I struggle with doubt. I’m going to try something new. Instead of denying my doubts I am going to embrace them. I am even going to explore them. And I am going to wait for Christ to appear.