#661 - "You Will Never Run" by Rend Collective
Chris Llewellyn talks about what it looks like to have God as a Father who never leaves us.

Fresh off the success of Campfire and The Art of Celebration, which featured the hit songs "Build Your Kingdom Here" and "My Lighthouse," Rend Collective's newest album As Family We Go released August 21. Listening to the opening tracks "Celebrate," "Free as a Bird" and "You Will Never Run," it's clear that the themes of our journey of life and people coming together in that journey to do good regardless of our differences runs throughout this excellent album, the best overall album by one of my favorite bands in any genre.

This album will have you hooked right from the opening notes of "Celebrate," which really sets the tone. The song appropriately kicks off the celebration of what God has done as expressed in Philippians 2:2 (The Voice): "here is one thing that would complete my joy-- come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love." That's exactly what this collective of believers is about. I had the chance to speak with lead singer Chris Llewellyn about "You Will Never Run."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

The album is all about this idea "as family we go." It had us thinking a lot about the family of God as the Church and also about us being God's family and Him being our Father. As we've traveled around leading worship, we have found varied responses to the idea of God as Father. Even the word "family" can carry a negative connotation, stirring up disappointment and betrayal. 

The beautiful thing about our God is that He is a perfect Father, and He will never leave us or forsake us. That's the promise we hear in Deuteronomy, right at the start of the Bible. It's echoed again by Jesus's Words at the end of the Great Commission, where He says "Surely I'm with you to the end of the age."

This idea that God is a Father who will never run out on us, and He will never leave us, is that He's not like our earthly family who has the ability to disappoint. That's not in His character. Our God is love, and He can't act outside of that impulse. That's why the song is so celebratory in nature. Whenever you hear a truth like that, that no matter what ways you screw up, and no matter how far you run away from God, He'll never run away from you-- that stirs up a song in you. That's why this song sounds the way it does.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV): "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

Exodus 14:14 (NIV): "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Matthew 28:18-19 (The Voice): "Jesus came forward and addressed His beloved disciples. The disciples don't know what to think or how to act. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Jesus: I am here speaking with all the authority of God, who has commanded Me to give you this commission: Go out and make disciples in all the nations. Ceremonially wash them through baptism in the name of the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

John 3:17 (NKJV): "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
Romans 8:38-40 (NKJV): "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

What is the takeaway message?

We only ever set out to be a church worship band, and in the pursuit of trying to do things slightly differently, sometimes more colorfully, it can cross over. It's interesting, once you start to include any story-telling in worship, it can cross over. Like the Psalms, they are considered worship, but if you put them in today's context, I don't know if they would qualify as contemporary worship.

The way people like to write worship songs is to have a revelation and response. Something we really wrestle with is song order. It's such a big part of what it means to lead people in worship in many ways. If you get it wrong, the journey doesn't work quite as well. It's much more than a matching of tempo and style and key. It's really trying to match in theology and take people on a logical journey. 

The bridge, "hearts open wide, hands lifted high," kind of heralds the start of us looking directly to the Throne. We've been enjoying a celebratory response, and then the tone changes from enjoying the presence of God to being awestruck. We continue to look up to Heaven in the songs that follow on the album. The musical lightness at the start of one of our sets or albums is to settle us so that we can get to that deep worship place. It's lovely to get there.

You will never run away
You're forever mine
You will never run away
You're by my side

Love wide as galaxies
Love deeper than the sea
Countless as all infinity
Love like a shooting star
Tearing apart the dark
Shining for all eternity
Shining for all eternity

You will never run away
You're forever mine
You will never run away
You're by my side
You will never run away
You forever shine
You will never run away
You're by my side

Love stronger than the grave
Love rolled the stone away
Rising with endless majesty
Love takes us by the hand
Love is the wildest dance
You are the joy and fight in me
You are the joy and fight in me

You will never run away
You're forever mine
You will never run away
You're by my side
You will never run away
You forever shine
You will never run away
You're by my side

Hearts open wide
Hands lifted high
Over the clouds up into the blue sky

Hearts open wide
Hands lifted high
Over the clouds up into the blue sky

You will never run away
You're forever mine
You will never run away
You're by my side
You will never run away
You forever shine
You will never run away
You're by my side

As Family We Go is one of the most meaningful albums I've ever heard. Every song is absolutely amazing. I can't get the catchy melodies of many of these songs out of my head. The project is perfectly produced, and the song order brilliantly invites listeners to join in with the band on their journey. The very relatable and transparent words of these songs perfectly depict our daily walks as believers wrapped around catchy songs. All of the tracks really display the musical and lyrical excellence and intentionality of Rend Collective.

In "You Will Never Run," we get to sing to our Father, God, about His attributes as our perfect Father who will never leave or forsake us. Our worshipful response is "hearts open wide and hands lifted high." During that bridge, I look towards Heaven and reach for my Father who will never run away. We know as believers that the Kingdom of God is here within each one of us who have put all of our hope and faith and trust in Jesus alone as our Savior. That can be a sobering reminder of a responsibility we all have as redeemed people to show the love of Jesus to others who don't know Him. Knowing God will never run away and knowing from Romans that "if God is for us, who can be against us" assures us that there's nothing to fear.

This song helps remind me of the biblical truth that God sent His only begotten Son Jesus to Earth to seek and to save the lost. No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, this song is a salvation message that Jesus, through The Holy Spirit, is by your side. There is nothing we have been given that is more valuable than our salvation. Take time to reflect on how thankful you are for the gift of Jesus and the moment that He found you and saved you. Also remember John 3:17: "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
What a wonderful, loving and gracious God we serve. I am so thankful to God for saving me through His Son Jesus. He is acquainted with our grief and anger. Christians can all relate to our unending second chances offered by God captured in Chris's vulnerable and sincere crying out throughout the celebratory song: "You will never run away, You're forever mine, You will never run away, You're by my side... You are the joy and fight in me!" Amen to that!

Watch the music video below:

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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