The Difficulties of Faith and the Song “Run, Run”

Here is the story behind the song “Run, Run” from Giants & Pilgrims album Almanac No. 1:

I was at a retreat in the mountains a couple years ago. The folks leading it said you have three hours on your own in this wilderness for quiet and alone time. We want you to connect with God.

I had been in a difficult place for a while with faith and I was excited for this get away.

Here’s what had been going on: Most people say that when their children are born they finally understand the heart of God and how much God loves them.

I actually had a very different reaction.

With the immense joy of having my daughter I realized just how much I did not want to die; to leave her and my family. It made me, for the first time in my life, face my own mortality and intensely question heaven and the idea of an afterlife. This retreat was going to help me find a deeper faith and greater hope in God for my future. I had this great experience with love in the birth of Lucy, it was time to increase belief and understanding. I had been praying about it often; that God would ease my wrestling in these questions.

As far as faith goes, I can speak to my experiences. I’ve seen evidence of God bringing new life in people’s past – the way that people feel absolutely forgiven of their regrets and guilt. And in my experience I’ve seen evidence of God’s work in the present – people motivated by supernatural purpose, doing amazing things of love and impact for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

But as far as the future? So far no one has footage on what happens after death. I’m suspect of books like “Heaven in Real”, so all this remains a mystery for me.

Here I was in the mountains for three hours with the same questions I’d been wrestling with for a couple years or so.

I think what I was really longing for in that wilderness was contact. To hear from God or see God. Perhaps to have something happen that I could make meaning and purpose of and attribute that to God. Then I could have greater faith in something happening when we die. It would  become less faith and more assurance, really.

While wading in a creek surrounded by mountains I did not hear or see God. But I did have, in a sense, an epiphany. And this will be a let down for any of you reading this hoping for something big and profound. Here’s what I came into.

A still, small voice within me said, “Hey.

“You will never see or hear God, truly, in this life-time. At least not with direct contact. Rarely do people ever see angels or get direct messages from God. In fact, unless a donkey talks to you or you are a 15 year old virgin in first century Israel, your story will not be given to you so directly.

“But there will always be something just underneath. Something within or below all your senses, deep within your DNA that says God is real. You won’t be able to shake that sense that God is with you and for you and a part of your life. This is a different, more difficult kind of seeing and hearing. It won’t necessarily bolster your faith, but it will never leave you.”

That epiphany felt a little disappointing. And it’s probably one that others reading this have come into earlier in their Christianity (I’ve always been a slow learner).

But it  felt true.

It stayed with me and eventually I wrote a song heavily influenced by this moment called “Run, Run”. My favorite lyric from it goes like this:

You won’t see God, you won’t see God
But you’ll swear He’s in the morning when the sun comes up
Your God won’t talk, your God won’t talk
But He’ll sing within your blood and he just won’t stop

And so I acknowledge this. That faith is a different kind of seeing and listening for me- difficult to get words and senses around. And that with that, wrestling over “life after death” will continue to be a struggle for me.

But in that faith and struggle, I long to run the good race set before me. In all the great questions of past, present, and definitely future, I hope to

Run to the edge, unbroken

as the chorus of “Run, Run” admits.

I hope to keep living this good life given wholly to love, joy, hope, faith, family, good-works… this life following Christ and his pattern of sacrificing yourself so others might live. And at the end I hope to leap off that edge in full gait, unknowing of what happens next, embracing that great mystery of the beyond, unafraid, unbroken,

and faith-full.

Here are the full lyrics of “Run, Run”. You can listen to the song HERE.

Giants & Pilgrims

You can’t go home, you can’t go home
But you can find another shelter you can call your own
You can’t push time, you can’t push time
But you can ride out every wave like an alibi

Your past won’t leave, your past won’t leave
It’ll stay with them like it stays with me
You won’t break free, you won’t break free
Death is gonna get you like he’s gonna get me

Run, run
Just run
Run to the edge unbroken

You won’t see God, you won’t see God
But you’ll swear He’s in the morning when the sun comes up
Your God won’t talk, your God won’t talk
But He’ll sing within your blood and He just won’t stop

Run, run
Just run
Run to the edge unbroken