BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#412 - "Every Good Thing" by The Afters
In a world of bad news, it's all the more important that we recognize goodness's source, lead singer Josh Havens shares.
 


The only true alchemy in this world occurs when trials turn to gold--the debris and heartbreak of life transformed and polished into shining beauty by a loving, unseen hand. We try to catch a glimpse of this remarkable change in action, yet human eyes fail us. 
 
However, once these storms of life pass, we see the afterglow through signs as sure as Noah's ancient rainbow. A loved one overcomes. Morning breaks after an impossibly long night. Grace thunders through spiritual drought with a mighty downpour of living water. All of this, and more, affirms the fact that yes, life is beautiful.
 
Such alchemy transforms The Afters' fourth studio album, Life Is Beautiful, though the title came innocently enough to vocalist-guitarist Josh Havens. He's been carrying it in his head ever since the release of the Oscar-winning 1997 film of the same name. But by the time the music came to fruition, Havens said he was wrestling with an ordeal that tested him like no other—and this from a guy who, along with his wife and kids, survived a near-fatal car wreck several years prior. 
 
"My son had some unexpected problems at birth and had to spend some time in the hospital ICU," he recalled. "And I prayed that God would turn my trials into testimonies."
 
Take "Every Good Thing," the debut single that rockets from backbeat intro to melodic pop chorus on a feel-good tide of riffing guitars and handclaps. Praise to the maker comes for "every heartbeat, every day we get to breathe … every second chance." Rarely do catchy songs come this infectious and insightful; "Every Good Thing" lifts the listener to a place where they can see the source of true joy, even as they feel it through the music. I recently had the opportunity to interview Josh Havens about this song.
 
Please describe the background message behind the song "Every Good Thing."
 
When we were writing the song, we were looking back over the last year and we were struck by how many times we'd wake up and see those horrific headlines in the news. Over the course of the last year, it seems like every story was tragic. We were in Colorado during the shootings last year. It happened really close to where my mom lives. There were the fires in Colorado, and so many tragedies. We're reminded every day of how many bad things there are in life, so we wanted to write a song as a reminder of how much God is capable of doing. We wanted to write a song about something strong, upbeat and positive. 
 
We opened up our Bibles to James, and in James 1:17 we know that "every good and perfect gift is from above." That reminds us daily that all good things come from God. We started thinking about what's good, and we thought of our families, and friendships, and things like that. That's how we went about writing the song. 
 
I had someone tell me that their child would just beam at them every time they hear the line, "It's the feeling that I get when I see my children smile." I remember there was one point when we were in the room and discussed whether we should leave that line in song. That's exactly how I feel, and it's totally honest.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

James 1:17: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
 
...and James 1:2-4: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
 
What's the main message of the song to you personally and for listeners?
 
Things go by so fast, and in our world today, we plan for the future and we live ahead of ourselves and busy-up our lives with so many things. We get moving so fast, we forget to really live our lives. We need to slow down a little bit and see the blessings that God is putting in our lives every day. In our second verse, we wanted a little bit of contrast to show that it's not all good and perfect. That's when we wrote the line, "There will be days that give me more than I can take." 
 
There are days that are not great. My experience is that God can even take those moments and turn them into something beautiful. We all have struggles, but God can take those struggles and use them for His glory and teach us through them.
 
I remember when I first saw the movie Life Is Beautiful that I wanted to make an album with that name. Our hope for our record--and a lot of heartache went into this album--is that it will encourage people to see how God is working in their lives. He's not just there on the sunny days. 
 
No matter what we go through in life, God is still with us and life is beautiful; God is beautiful. We felt like we were at the right place in life to write an album about all of the things that make life beautiful. 
 
We all have similarities with our beautiful moments and painful moments. God is with us and He is faithful and present in every moment in our lives. More than any of our other albums, we were studying God's Word the most. My son was born in the course of writing this album, and he had some complications. God is present, even in the midst of our pain.
 
Lyrics:
I tend to be busier than I should be
And I tend to think that time is going to wait for me
Sometimes I forget and take for granted
That it's a beautiful life we live
I don't want to miss the moments like this
This is a beautiful life You give

You're the reason for
every good thing, every heartbeat
Every day we get to breathe
You're the reason for
anything that lasts, every second chance
Every laugh
Life is so sweet
You're the reason for every good thing
Every good thing, every good thing

There will be days that give me more than I can take
But I know that You always make beauty from my heartache
Don't want to forget or take for granted
That it's a beautiful life we live
I'm not going to miss the moments like this
This is a beautiful life You give

You're the reason for
every good thing, every heartbeat
Every day we get to breathe
You're the reason for
anything that lasts, every second chance
Every laugh
Life is so sweet
You're the reason for every good thing
Every good thing, every good thing

It's our family, it's our friends
It's the feeling that I get when I see my children smile
This life, everything we love
It's You alive in us
You're alive in us
You are, You are here in every moment,
and I know that You're every good thing
You are, You are here in every moment,
and I know that You're the reason for
 
This song is all about finding our true identity in Christ. He is the answer. We can't know everything and we are not in control, but trusting God gives us assurance that we don't have to be afraid. God will be there to pick us up when we fall. 
 
The challenge for me when I listen to this song is to pick an area of my life that I've been trying to control and instead cry out to Jesus for help and put all of my hope and trust in God. At some point, we all make mistakes and need to ask God for forgiveness. God doesn't make bad things happen to us. He came to give us life and to live with Him eternally by trusting in Jesus alone for our salvation. God is bigger than any calamity that we experience in this world.
 
"Every Good Thing" gives me a lot of joy, and my heartbeat is to please the Lord. I love songs that allow me to have fun and praise God at the same time, and this song certainly does that. I really enjoy how my love of fun, uplifting music and biblical truth is perfectly married in this song. 
 
Singing along with this song at the top of my lungs allows me to abandon myself and cry out: "This life, everything we love, It's You alive in us, You're alive in us, You are, You are here in every moment, and I know that You're every good thing."
 
Complete confidence in and reliance upon the grace of God is the theme of this great song and this incredible new album. God has called Christians to become mature and complete, as firstfruits of all He created. This is so high a calling and so valuable an attainment that we may consider even trials along the way pure joy! 
 
Every song on the new album has a similar sentiment of praise and worship to our Savior set to catchy melodies and sung with emotion by Josh Havens. This is a great return from one of my favorite bands. 
 
As Josh said, bad things will happen. The Book of James talks about WHEN trials come, not IF. God's mercies are new every morning. Our hope is in the promise that God will make "all things new." Amen!
 
(Here's a lyrics video.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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