Sovereign Over Us
I’ve loved getting to know Bryan Brown and Jack Mooring. Bryan is one of the funniest and most talented guys you’ll ever meet. (Oh and, he looks exactly like Dave Matthews, only better.) Bryan writes great songs and is a phenomenal guitarist who’s been playing with Matt Redman on the road for a while now. Jack Mooring you may know from the band “Leeland” (Jack is Leeland’s big brother) as the warm and haunting voice in the band. He’s a calm, kind presence who’s never anything but gracious and patient. These are attractive qualities if you’re writing music together.
The three of us sat down to write together and the verses came out first, these ideas of there being significance in the seasons most difficult in our lives. We wanted to sing honestly about the fact that we hurt, we weep, we mourn, and even in those times we can rest in the sovereignty of God. But not only can we trust in his sovereignty, we can know learn more about his character in those seasons. We may have read it before, but not until we’ve gone through that kind of season will we really experience Psalm 34, that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (v18). Or Psalm 147, how He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (v3).
The chorus came immediately after the verses, with the confident declaration that even though we hurt and struggle, his plans are still to prosper us, and He’s mindful of us. Of course this is from Jeremiah 29:11, I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. God’s heart for his people is to prosper them, to give them hope. Psalm 35 says it this way, Let the Lord be magnified, who delights in the prosperity of his servant (v27). This is foundational to our faith, the core belief that God is good, and that his heart for us is love. It seems elementary even, but the longer I live the more I realize that if that foundation isn’t resolute, incalculable destruction can ensue.
There were lots of other scriptural themes we wanted to sing as well, such as his ways being higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), his presence being with us even in furious fire (Daniel 3:25), and his being faithful forever (Psalm 146:6). Other passages that stuck out include Psalm 54:4, how the Lord upholds us, and lifts up the lowly (Psalm 145:14).
Finally, the bridge: Even what the enemy means for evil, You turn it for our good. I spontaneously sang that in worship a while ago, and it never left me. It felt like it fit with the rest of this song, and so we put it in there. This lyric obviously incorporates the Romans 8:28 promise, but even moreso the Genesis 50 line from Joseph to his brothers–who’d functioned as a hostile enemy to Joseph, mistreating, betraying, and abandoning him to slavery. Joseph’s reaction upon seeing them years later is: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (v20). Joseph trusted the sovereignty of God and that led him to being able to soar above resentment and despair. Oh to God that we would do the same, and praise be to God for being able to turn the schemes of the enemy for our good, and for his own purpose and glory.