BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#614 - "It Is Well" by Bethel Music
Bethel worship leader Kristene DiMarco talks about the God who still brings calm amid the wind and the waves.
 


Bethel Music has become one of the most significant voices in contemporary worship, housing standout worship leaders such as Brian and Jenn Johnson, Amanda Cook and Steffany Gretzinger. You Make Me Brave, their compelling collection of female-led worship leader songs, was one of my Top 5 Worship Albums of 2014.
 
This compilation from the Redding, California based church is unique in that it is composed of songs led by the female worship leaders at a women's conference. The voices on this project include Jenn Johnson, Amanda Cook, Steffany Gretzinger, Kari Jobe, Kristene DiMarco and Leah Valenzuela.
 
This album is best described as an experience with an ethereal worshipful tone, similar to Kim Walker-Smith and Jesus Culture. These anointed women have consistently impressed me with their mature faith and sincere desires to serve Jesus. I had the chance to speak with Kristene DiMarco about her incredible song "It Is Well."
 
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
 
I am 30 years old, and I have been a worship leader since I was 16. It's been quite the journey since then of discovering that God is actually real, and He's not just a hope. A couple of years ago my husband and I were living with my in-laws, and they are amazing people, but we were wanting our own place. It's funny because God had brought me through so many harder things, and I've seen Him bring people through much harder things than finding a house to live in. But at that point in my life, I was so consumed with this worry that we would never find the right house, or if we put in an offer, it would be snatched away from us.
 
I was in our backyard crying out to God, and He so clearly brought the phrase into my mind "the waves and wind still know My name, Kristene." I could almost hear God laughing, and I knew bigger fish have been fried. I remember thinking that it was so true, and God has already come through so much and in so many ways for me. He brought me an amazing husband, and He brought me to this great city of Redding, California. He's given me so much, and yet I was so worried.
 
Sometimes worry is what gets to us the most. Jesus told us "do not worry." When He calmed the wind and the waves, He asked the disciples why they were so afraid. That's where the song came from. When I sat down to write it, I wondered how I could poetically say "bigger fish have been fried." I started by writing "grander earth has quaked before." I know that the "waves and wind still know His Name" even to this day, and they still obey Him. That's the story behind writing the song.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 121 (NKJV): "I will lift up my eyes to the hills--From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."

Psalm 119:37 (NKJV): Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.
 
Psalm 125:1 (NKJV): Those who trust in the Lord, are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Matthew 14:29-31 (NKJV): "So He said, ‘Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!' And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'" 
 
What is the takeaway message?
 
I started researching the background of the hymn "It is Well with My Soul," and I couldn't even get through the whole story without crying. I have a 3 year old little girl, and I was reading the account of Horatio Spafford losing his son first and then his 4 daughters in a boating accident and then being able to write that hymn. I thought he really left us with no excuses to feel worry or doubt, because if he could write "It is Well" after what he went through, it's because of how he understood who God is, and it wasn't based on what was happening in his life.
 
The biggest challenge for me is being in constant remembrance of what God has done. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His faithfulness does not change, and He stays the same. To be shaken by circumstances doesn't make any sense when you think about everything God has brought you through and what He will bring us through in the future. The verse in Psalm 125:1, "those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever," was an anchoring Scripture for me in every season in my life. Those who trust in the Lord are like a mountain.

I pray that God can make my faith like that. I pray for my worry to go away, because I know who He is. I think that's the only way Horatio Spafford could have sung those words at the darkest time of his life, because he actually knew who God was. You can't muster that kind of thing up from within you. You have to have that faith that is a gift from God.
 
Lyrics:
Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me
Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can't see
And this mountain that's in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well it is well with my soul
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me


I think God included the book of Job as a reminder of how He wants us to handle trials. In that Scripture, Satan is testing God's servant, Job, to see if he can cause him to lose his faith by causing him pain and suffering. Job's friends counsel him that he must have un-repented sins that are causing him the calamities of losing his family and his health.  The hymn "It is Well with My Soul" is a similar reminder that our worship of God should not be based on our circumstances, but based on who God is.
 
Every song on You Make Me Brave completely focuses me as a listener on joining in praise, worship and adoration of our beautiful King Jesus, with reminders that the "waves and wind still know His Name." These stellar songs are excellent reminders to cling to our Anchor, Jesus.
 
Although the songs were written at different times, the theme of relying on God's strength to make us brave weaves through all of the songs and spontaneous worship moments that all believers need to hear, women and men alike. My personal devotional prayer this year has been to have more faith, and this song is my heart's cry and anthem to sing daily in praise to the Lord, regardless of my circumstances, doubts or worry: "through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You, through it all, through it all, it is well with me."
 
"It is Well" is poignant and powerful with earnest, worshipful lyrics reflecting the yearning for Jesus that I pray for my daughters to feel in their hearts as well. This song is a modern day psalm singing about God's attributes and how much He loves us. It is a powerful reminder that we are not meant for this world, but to live with God eternally in Heaven. Commit your life to Jesus and offer Him your heart and your life as you sing along with this great song "So let go my soul and trust in Him, The waves and wind still know His name." Amen to that!
 
(Watch the music video 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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