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#800 - "King of the World" by Natalie Grant
Natalie Grant shares how this song challenges her to choose peace over panic.

Posted: February 28, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Multiple time GMA Dove Award winning Female Vocalist of the Year Natalie Grant has blessed listeners and provided worship leaders with songs to lead congregations into the Throne Room of Grace with her recordings of songs such as "Held," "Greatness of Our God," "Desert Song," "Your Great Name" and "Ever Be," which are all vertical worship songs that really showcase Natalie's excellent vocals. Grant's 2013 album Hurricane blended everything I've always enjoyed about her music ministry: emotional ballads, exciting pop songs like "Closer to Your Heart" and "Hurricane," and worshipful celebrations and it was one of my top 10 albums of 2013. Her follow-up album Be One continues in that same upbeat, worshipful vein. 

Be One features the call to action song "Be One" and the stirring worship ballad, "Clean," which inspired me to post an article listing my Top 5 Natalie Grant Worship Songs. I recently had the opportunity to attend a Dare to Be Conference in Bensalem, Pennsylvania with my wife, and we were very blessed by hearing inspiring messages from Charlotte Gambill and singing with Natalie Grant. In our seventh discussion over the past nine years of writing these behind the song devotionals, I had the chance to speak with Natalie in-person about her Grammy nominated song "King of the World." It is an honor to feature one of my favorite people in all of Christian music for my 800th devotional.

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

I wrote the verses and the bridge. Sam and Rebecca Mizell, who are wonderful songwriters, were writing with my husband, and they sent this song chorus. It was the very first song I heard for this album. The first time I heard this chorus, I just knew I had to finish and record this song. 

To be honest, I had to record the song because it is such a confession for me personally: "When did I forget that You've always been the King of the world?" To confess, I'm a bit of a control freak. I'd like to say that when things get shaky I'm prone to peace, but I'm not. I'm prone to panic. I think that's why the song just resonated with me. The line "How could I make You so small, when You're the One who holds it all?" really hit me deep at the core of myself. It's special to me because it was the first song we recorded for the album, and it's been great to see how it has resonated with people.

I talk very openly about our struggle with infertility, and this song is another example of how during that time I was prone to panic instead of peace, and I questioned God. That's okay, and I don't think you need to feel guilty about questioning God, asking "Why are You allowing this?" I think He can handle it. 

Something I'm learning the older I get is that our God loves a great story. Look at the Bible. He's the greatest storyteller. I think about the fact that if anyone thinks the Bible is boring, you haven't read it. God loves a great drama. He likes to take you right to the very edge and show us amazing redemption all throughout the Bible. Yet somehow we doubt that's what He's going to do for us, and when it comes to us, we forget who He is. He redeems. That's what He does, in every story.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV): "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts."

Acts 4:12 (NKJV): "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

John 18:36 (VOICE): "My kingdom is not recognized in this world. If this were My kingdom, My servants would be fighting for My freedom. But My kingdom is not in this physical realm."

Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV): "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Philippians 3:20 (NLV): "But we are citizens of heaven. Christ, the One Who saves from the punishment of sin, will be coming down from heaven again. We are waiting for Him to return."

Romans 8:28 (VOICE): "We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."

Romans 8:38-39 (VOICE): "For I have every confidence that nothing--not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing--can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord."

What is the takeaway message?

I feel like our story of struggling with infertility was one of those moments where we needed to remember that our God redeems. But people may say "good for you, because you now have three daughters. What about me?" That Scripture that says "His ways our higher than our ways" is the only way I know how to explain it. We have a finite understanding. He sees in bigger ways that we can't. One thing I always know is that He answers our prayers. It may not be the ways that we think He should or that we expect, but He always answers. For anyone not getting what they hope or expect, the one thing I know is true is that He is faithful and kind, and I know that was true even when I didn't think He was answering my prayers.

We couldn't have planned that this song would come out at a time when there is so much division and unrest in our country. This seems to be a serious time of panic, anger and confusion. Everyone seems a little bit uneasy. The song came out at a perfect time. What I see in well-meaning, God-fearing people is that we need to stop putting our hope and faith in a leader. As Christians, we need to remember that our citizenship is in Heaven. I'm just passing through. Sometimes we so caught up in arguing that it deafens the message of who Jesus is. He is in control. He is on the Throne. I'm also convicted to not lose sight of His holiness. He is the God of the universe.

I tried to fit You in the walls inside my mind
I try to keep You safely in between the lines
I try to put You in the box that I've designed
I try to pull You down so we are eye to eye
When did I forget that You've always been the King of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the King of the world
How could I make You so small
When You're the One who holds it all
When did I forget that You've always been the King of the world

Just a whisper of Your voice can tame the seas
So who am I to try to take the lead
Still I run ahead and think I'm strong enough
When You're the One who made me from the dust

When did I forget that You've always been the King of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the King of the world
How could I make You so small
When You're the One who holds it all
When did I forget that You've always been the King of the world

Oh, You set it all in motion
Every single moment
You brought it all to me
And You're holding on to me

When did I forget that You've always been the King of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the King of the world
How could I make You so small
When You're the One who holds it all
When did I forget You've always been the King of the world
You will always be the King of the world

This song encourages me and is one of the most inspirational songs I've ever heard. It is an exciting thought that one day all suffering and hurt will be left behind, and one day glory will be revealed in us through Christ. What's most amazing about our Savior Jesus, the King of the world, is that of all the ways He could have chosen to save us, He chose to come down and be the least among us and a suffering servant. 

At a time when looking for security in possessions and "The American Dream" is shaky at best, this song reminds me that I can lay down my worry and plans and put my hope in God. In light of believers being surrounded by darkness and uncertainty all around us, it's so good to know that we can trust in our King, Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we know that we can trust God's Word. We are all a work in progress. Have faith and let God "work all things together for good." Spend time with God, and let Him redeem and restore you. God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what's He's started in all of us who have put our hope and trust in Jesus for our salvation. God is bigger than any calamity that we experience in this world.

The main message of the song is to hold on to Christ, as something better is coming. The grace and promise that God is with us, proclaimed ultimately in the bridge "Oh, You set it all in motion, every single moment, You brought it all to me and You're holding on to me," is what really moves me and guides me in my Christian walk. Live every day for Heaven and don't forget that God will always be the King of the world.

There are still billions of people on earth that don't know Jesus as their King. One day He will rule the new heavens and the new earth, and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. The world is still crying out desperately for a Savior, and our job as followers of Jesus is to tell the world that He came, He lived a perfect, sinless life, He died for our sins and He is risen! That's cause to celebrate and sing out loudly, "How could I make You so small when You're the One who holds it all, when did I forget You've always been the King of the world? You will always be the King of the world." Amen to that!

Watch Natalie sing the song 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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