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BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#415 - "Restore" by Chris August
Chris August talks with Kevin Davis about why a single guy decided to write a song about marriage.
 


Chris August has seen the upside and the down in the past, and is better for it. Setting out to write and produce his sophomore record was a challenge he was energized and confident about, and dead set on what he wanted to say. Ironically, while recording, Chris experienced a true "down" moment when he was in a serious skateboarding accident. Returning to the studio with a renewed awareness and sensitivity, song after song began to have new meaning and importance.
 
On The Upside of Down, a 14-track album, Chris was set on writing and crafting songs that were purposeful, vulnerable and direct, not shying away from truth and not hiding meaning with metaphor. Chris explains the symbolism of his new album title, "Even in the down part of life, I've had such intimate moments with friends being at my house and lifting me in prayer; I'm really connecting with Christ on a new level. I couldn't ask for anything else through all this!" I had the great opportunity to interview Chris about his current single "Restore."
 
Please tell me the message behind the song "Restore."
It is kind of funny that a song about marriage is coming from a single guy. It is one of those things. After my song "7 x 70," I would hear these stories of forgiveness. I wrote that song coming from my experience of being in a broken home. God was using that song to inspire people to choose forgiveness. I would see it in people's lives. A common story I would hear almost every night is that after a husband and wife would hear that song, thinking their marriage was done and it was over, they would decide to choose forgiveness. God would completely heal and restore their marriage. They would come tell me those stories. Sometimes from circumstances beyond their control, they would share that God had restored them and remade them. It was so inspiring for me to see this, and to know that in a time where I feel like we've made it so easy to just quit and give up, I'm seeing people choose the road less travelled: forgiveness and restoration. Marriage is something worth fighting for. God is going to restore and heal anyone who seeks that from Him.
 
Did you base the song on any Bible verses? 

John 10:10: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
 
...Matthew 19:6: "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
 
...and Ephesians 5:21: "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
 
What's the take-away message for listeners?  
 
I come from a broken home--better yet, a broken family. Parents screaming at each other. Frustrations were commonly taken out on my brother, my sister and myself. I hope others can use the song in their own journey to forgiveness.

People often ask me what I want listeners to walk away with after hearing my music. My response is that I want to write music that people can relate to. I hope my music speaks to them within their own lives and becomes something they can turn on any day of the week and in any season in life.

I was recently laying on my bunk on this tour with Big Daddy Weave. Listening to Mike Weaver's story has been so encouraging for me. It is interesting that our hearts are built so big that they can hold so much. Sometimes at some points, you realize you can't fully fill your heart and you think it is a bad design. Then you realize that the emptiness is a desire that God puts in each of us. I was thinking that there's this space in my heart that God hasn't filled yet. He has kept me waiting, sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently.

I'm 30 years old. If you would have told me when I was 19 that I'd still be single when I was 30, I would have said you're crazy. I write songs for a living! We songwriters are all hopeless romantics. At the end of the day, it is all about waiting for God's plans in my life. When we're patient and wait on the Lord, and go to Him for strength to fix or heal a marriage, He'll answer. We can buy all of the self-help books in the world, and analyze ourselves, but at the end of the day only God can take something broken and make it what it should be. There's really nothing that we can do on our own. That's the power and healing and restoration of the Cross. Jesus has to be the Foundation. He has to be in the middle of marriage.
 
Lyrics:
Nobody's growing old together, we've made it easy just to quit
Love has become a negative percentage, why do we bother to commit
We've got a long list of excuses, ways we try to justify
Well, I propose to you the truth is, marriage does not have to die

I know you're feeling like it's falling apart and it can't go on anymore
But God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore

He said with this ring I promise, and with I do she said forever
But right now if they're being honest they don't know if they'll stay together
Let's fast forward to the future after struggling on their own
They finally figured out they needed Jesus in the middle
Now I'm watching God rebuild their home

The enemy tries to come and divide
Trying to get us to give up the fight
But darkness will always lose out to light
'Cause we've got the power of Christ on our side

I see you growing old together
I pray I find a love like yours

So if you're feeling like it's falling apart and it can't go on anymore
God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore

Like it was before
You may have strayed off course
But He will restore 

Charlie Peacock writes, "There are marriages that take your breath away like a masterpiece painting." We are the art of God, and through His supernatural power, He can do miracles in our lives to make Christian marriages look like a masterpiece. 
 
This song, "Restore," is also my prayer for my marriage, for Jesus to be at center of my marriage. Jesus is the Good News and the miracle that can hold us together when we have struggles. Marriage seems more difficult than ever with so many distractions and temptations around us. This song is an offering and submission to God's supernatural ability to keep together what would otherwise fall apart. Christians in marriages need to stand up and pray; let's be a miracle. 
 
I've been married for almost 19 years, and the "crazy cycle" of marriage is one that hinges on raising the white flag and asking for forgiveness. This song is a great reminder that God is the great Restorer and Healer. We often feel ashamed and unworthy of God's perfect Love, but that's the point. We aren't worthy and God still wants all of us and loves us deeply.

This entire album is about giving and accepting love. What's so relatable is how Chris August's "relationship" songs are relevant for everyone, but especially if you know Jesus, then you know the ultimate answer to the quest for love can only be found in Him.
 
The key to a biblical marriage is to keep Jesus at the center and know that He is the light of the world. God is the only true source of hope, and rest and security. We can never completely be those things for our spouses. The Lord commands to us to have no other gods before Him. I love Jesus and I love my wife as Christ loves His Church. It is my heart's desire to more selflessly show my wife love and devotion and serve her in a Christ-like manner. As this song says, "God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord, And He will restore." Jesus is the light of the world and what God has brought together, let no man separate. Amen to that!
 
(Check out a video of 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.

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