Nathan Tasker's seventh studio album, Man on a Wire is now available. Produced by Paul Moak (Third Day, Mat Kearney), the album features eleven new songs that were written or co-written by Tasker, and the music presents the listener with realistic stories that represent an authentic Christian life with all of its joys and sorrows.
The Australian songwriter's latest album was born out a season of personal loss, which filled the songs with a strong hope in things eternal in spite of earthly grief.
Tasker's last album Home featured the standout track "Eternity (What We Were Made For)." In the same vein, this new collection of songs helps listeners identify with the biblical definition of joy, which transcends from being defined by our earthly circumstances to living for Heaven. I had the chance to speak with Nathan about his catchy and personal title track "Man on a Wire."
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
The best way to start is that this whole album is built around the past 3 years that my wife and I have been through together. Three years ago, my wife's father died of a brain tumor. Two months after that my wife was expecting twins, but at around six months pregnant my wife went into pre-term labor, and after giving birth to a boy and girl we lost both of them as they weren't able to live for long in this world.
By the end of that year, my wife and I were heartbroken and were pretty destroyed by everything. We experienced a significant time of lament in the midst of that kind of suffering. That began a journey of asking big questions of God. Thankfully, we weren't the first people in the history of knowing God to ask Him these questions, as we've read in the Bible.
There are lots of stories of God's people asking Him "why? How long?" Big, lamenting questions. As we asked those questions, we found Him being faithful in the midst of them. Sometimes we saw examples while we were lamenting, and other times we saw it when we looked back on our situation. God was faithful in those times we felt most alone, when the darkness was at its peak.
It was quite a difficult and (I hesitate to use this word) almost a positive journey where God allowed us to move through the process of lament and crying out to Him, to realizing that He is the only One worth giving everything we have. He is worthy of our praise in the midst of our sorrow. I don't say that lightly to anyone dealing with grief or loss. It is difficult to go through, and the answers are not easily won. They are hard fought answers, but our God is faithful.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV): For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Isaiah 53:3 (NKJV): He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
What is the takeaway message?
A third of the Psalms are about lamenting, and we identified with those during our time of suffering. We also really identified with the Gospel accounts of Jesus and His suffering on this earth and how He cried out in lament in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross. We see Jesus asking those big questions. The fact that Jesus would weep with us— we read in the Bible about Jesus crying. He totally understands us.
My friend Michael Card says, "as much as the blood that flowed shows Jesus' humanity, it's the tears that He shed that really resonates how He is fully God and fully human." That meant a lot for us. To know that we are not alone. We don't have a distant God. Instead, He experienced grief to the utmost when He died on the Cross for our sins and took them upon Himself. The 2nd Corinthians 4:17 verse expresses that idea that our present troubles in light of eternity fade away, and God will use them in eternity for His glory. Our afflictions will be put in their right and proper place and declare the glory of Jesus. That was a very hopeful passage for us.
"Man on a Wire" came from the idea that the last few years of our journey of suffering felt like a person on high wire, wavering back and forth. I watched a wonderful documentary called "Man on Wire," which I know sounds remarkably like the name of my album. In that documentary it was noted that to successfully walk on a wire, you can't look down, and you can't look behind you, or side to side, you have to keep your eyes focused on your goal, straight ahead.
That resonated with me very deeply. In order to navigate this life, the only way you can stay on this narrow path as Jesus calls it, is to keep our eyes focused on Him. He is the goal of our faith and our salvation. That's become a bit of a mantra for me and my wife. There are so many things that call out to us from behind and either side, trying to remind us of who we were, and other parts of the world pulling us to pursue something other than Jesus. My hope is that this song reminds people to keep their eyes firmly focused on Him. Run after the goal with as much vigor as we can muster.
My hope is that this album would be honest and authentic, representative of the entire Christian life, one in which our God uses the full spectrum of colors, emotions and experiences at His disposal to shape us and make us more like His Son Jesus.
Like a man on a wire
A million miles above the ground
Longing for the other side
But so scared from looking down
Oh I can't look down (blue sky all around)
I might as well be blind
I will never find the way on my own
Come and be my light, in the darkness
And I will follow You, You… home
So quick to forget
What is real and what is true
Am I in love with a counterfeit
Or am I in love with You?
Cause all I need is You
Feels like my heart is torn in two
Step by step, I won't look down,
I'll keep my eyes on You
Every song on Nathan's new album is a great reminder for followers of Jesus trying to live out their faith and looking for creative expressions of worship. If you are looking for the words to express your feelings to God, these songs are a wonderful companion. These are all very transparent, vulnerable and authentic songs. This entire album is loaded with relatable lyrics, incredible singing and prayerful themes about what it means to be a child of God.
Musically, the album features a great mix of laid-back indie-pop and singer-songwriter folk style music. Give the album a few deep listens and you'll love it. This is a great new collection of very heartfelt and introspective songs. God's Holy Word provides answers to those big questions that can't be answered by the world, like "why?" and "how long?" I really connect with the word pictures in the lyrics of this song. We are called to have faith in God's provision for us, even when we can't see it. That is beautifully described in this song: "I might as well be blind, without You, I will never find the way on my own, Come and be my light, in the darkness."
Being a "man on a wire" is a great description of the Christian walk. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus is the only way we can make it on the narrow road to eternal life and not be distracted by the world. When we are dealing with circumstances or pain that is beyond human comprehension, it requires a supernatural faith that can only be found in Jesus and The Holy Spirit. The takeaway message is both a devotional challenge and a comfort, which can be found in the lyrics "Step by step, I won't look down, I'll keep my eyes on You." Amen to that!
(Watch Nathan sing the song here.)
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.