My testimony is that the biblical messages behind the songs I heard on the debut album by Jars of Clay in 1995 prompted me to seek out the biblical connection to the words of songs like "Liquid," "Love Song for a Savior" and "Worlds Apart." That led to me diving deeper into God's Word for the first time in my mid-twenties, having grown up with more of a works based faith and not relying on Jesus alone for my salvation.
The transformation process included listening to every type of Christian music, and I was saved in 1999 when I said the sinner's prayer after listening to an artist testimony at the end of a Christian album where the artist invited me to join him, for which I'm eternally grateful. It's my prayer that my "behind the song" devotionals will similarly encourage readers and be an influence to peoples' individual walks with Christ, or maybe to even lead people to Christ if they haven't yet made the decision.
Here's how this series started. My pastor, J.R. Briggs, challenged me to consider "fasting" from music during the Lenten season leading up to Easter 2008. He knew my testimony, that I credit my salvation to the biblical messages "behind the songs" in Christian music leading me to seek Jesus. My pastor suggested that I needed to give up my idol (music) and focus on God's Word, and perhaps I should write about the biblical messages behind my favorite songs in Christian music.
I approached NRT Founder Kevin McNeese with the idea, and he graciously agreed to post my original article. Seven years later to the day, this is my 599th devotional. Appropriately, I had the great opportunity to interview Francesca Battistelli in person at WinterJam in Reading, PA about a song focused on not being afraid and stepping out in faith: "Giants Fall." The song is from her album If We're Honest. This is my 12th "behind the song" devotional interview with Francesca, making her my most featured female artist in my series over the past seven years.
Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.
A couple of years ago we got an email from a little girl named Mallory. When she was 11, she started an organization called Project Yesu that ministers to girls and women in Uganda. She has raised over $30,000 for kids to go to school in Uganda. She wrote this email and said basically, "Everyone's telling me that I'm crazy for writing you, that you're too busy and you'll never write back, but I have this organization, and I'm hosting a benefit luncheon on Orphan Sunday and I would love you to be there."
My husband was reading the email to me at dinner at a Mexican restaurant, and I was just so struck by her faith because she said "Even though everyone's telling me that I'm crazy, the one thing I've learned over these past two years is that when we step out in faith, God does fix things."
I was just so blown away by that because so many of us say that, but to actually believe it and act on it and sort of live that crazy faith life that she was living at 14 years old just blew me away. I kind of wanted to tell those naysayers that they were crazy and they were wrong. We just really felt like we needed to. I felt like I needed to say yes.
What ended up happening is a couple of days after I got that email, I was in the studio writing with a couple of friends, and I was telling them that story. Then they said, "What do you want to write about today?" I said, "I want to write about that. I want to write about Mallory." We wrote this song "Giants Fall," which is a song about Mallory. It's really just a song saying "don't be afraid of giants in your way." That whatever obstacles are facing you, God is with you, and it doesn't matter if what you have seems like a little, He can turn it into a lot.
I wrote this song for her, but I didn't tell her. It was just a really powerful moment, and it reminded me that when we're obedient, God does amazing things. That goes for Mallory. That goes for me writing the song. Being there, I think if nothing else, she'll be able to look back and say "That was one thing that I asked God for that He did." It was cool.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Matthew 17:20 (NKJV): So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Matthew 19:26 (NIV): Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT): "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."
1 John 4:18 (NKJV): "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
What is the takeaway message for you personally?
The song is a reminder that no matter how small the gifts or talents you are holding in your hands might seem, if God is able to use a tiny stone to make Goliath fall, He can do absolutely anything. All it takes is mustard seed sized faith. The song really was inspired by Mallory, I wrote it for her, but I also wrote it for anyone who needs to be reminded that God can do so much with a heart that is just offered to Him.
For me, the thing that has always struck me is that stepping out in faith and trusting in the Lord is something I need to be reminded of constantly. In my own life, God has brought me to a place where I've had to step out in a lot of ways— facing fears, pursuing this life, moving to Nashville and having kids on the road.
When I was younger, my turning point with the Lord where I faced my relationship with the Lord instead of what my parents taught me, was when I was 16 and I was supposed to have surgery on my back because I have scoliosis. It was scheduled, and I felt like I heard from the Lord telling me to not have the surgery. I felt like the Lord was telling me to either believe everything I read in the Bible or none of it, but not just take parts of it.
Now, years later, I don't need to believe God will miraculously heal my back, but at the time I felt like God was saying He had another way for me. I told my parents and they were incredibly supportive. After some prayer, we postponed the surgery. I still have scoliosis. It was that moment when God became real to me, and I felt like that was a turning point where I trusted the Lord with my life. This song is a layer of that part of my life of not being afraid and facing the giants in my life.
Everyone's telling you
To let go of what you're holding to
It's too late, too far
You're too small, it's too hard
Throwing water on that spark
Living deep inside your heart
With oceans of reasons
The things you're not seeing
But oh, maybe they don't
Know what you know
That you're not alone
Don't you be afraid
Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight
He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be small
But watch the giants fall
Watch the giants fall
We could really live like this
Can't you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face
Ask and believe
You're gonna see
The hand of God in every little thing
Miracles can happen
Anything is possible
Watch the giants fall
Each of Francesca's songs has allowed us as listeners to eavesdrop on her prayers to God. This song is no exception. My favorite aspect of Christian music is hearing how someone else's words, their thoughts and prayers, translate into a sing-able melody that draws me closer to God. That ties in with my testimony of being led to Christ and how God wrote His story on my heart to share the biblical messages behind the songs, to draw people closer to His heart. That has led to me wanting to share my passion for Jesus and edifying music with each of my three young daughters, to have the truth of God's Word and His heart seep into their hearts.
Like Francesca's previous releases, the album's central theme is about finding our identity in Christ. It emphasizes being honest and transparent with ourselves and others to allow God's grace to shine in our lives by demonstrating that in our weakness, His strength is made perfect. We display that we are His sons and daughters through our words and actions.
I am very impressed by the album, as I feel like we are getting to hear more and more of Francesca's personal story and where she is coming from as a fellow believer in Christ. In particular, throughout the album you'll hear many different expressions about the Lord, about Who He is and what He is doing in our lives. I know personally that I am in a better mood after I finish listening to her album, as it transforms negative things I am thinking about myself to the truth of what God thinks.
Francesca has written another great anthem for the Church that reminds us that under our own strength, many mountains we face will seem impossible, but with God all things are possible. The same goes for salvation. We can't earn Heaven, it's only through complete surrender to Jesus and putting all of our hope in Him can we be saved. As Christians, we all can loudly proclaim: "Ask and believe, You're gonna see, The hand of God in every little thing, Miracles can happen, Anything is possible, Watch the giants fall." Amen to that!
(You can read Mallory's story here.)
(Watch Francesca 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.