BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#827 - "Take Courage" by Bethel Music
Kristene DiMarco wrote this song to mark the end of a personal season of waiting and uncertainty.
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #827 -
Posted: June 01, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Bethel Music's newest compilation, Starlight, is unique in that it is comprised of songs all led by female worship leaders and recorded at Bethel Worship Nights across the country last fall. The voices featured include Jenn Johnson ("Chasing You"), Amanda Cook ("You Make Me Brave"), Steffany Gretzinger ("We Dance"), Kalley Heiligenthal ("Ever Be"), Melissa Helser, Kristene DiMarco ("It is Well"), Hannah McClure ("You Are My One Thing") and special guest Francesca Battistelli.

Starlight is best described as a stellar worship offering with an empowering theme of the Lord's Kingship reigning in our hearts in song after song. The standout songs each feature an engaging and emotive musical style while phrasing biblical truth in a creative, corporate and also personal way, making it my top worship album of the year. Every song completely focuses me as a listener on joining in praise, worship and adoration of our beautiful King Jesus. I had the great opportunity to interview Kristene DiMarco about "Take Courage."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

I consider this song to be ten years in the making, a finishing a season in my life kind of song. For me, we recently purchased a house last year, and I had the lyrics "watch your triumph unfold" in a frame that a friend made me. When we finally got to move into the house, I put it on the mantel and started weeping. I realized it had been ten years in the making. 

I had been in a tough time in San Francisco in a prayer movement, and it was one of those places in life where you couldn't see where you were going and just putting one foot in front time after time. That's what this song is about, this mystery of what surrounds you, not being able to see what's coming. You can't go back, and you just have to trust. It's about God not abandoning us in those places of waiting. He's with us on our whole journey. When we get to the end of our process, we can look back and see that He's with us every step of the way, and He lit up our road behind us. 

When I sat down to put all of this process to words, I sat with Jeremy Riddle, and he's a great sounding board for me. He's a lot more straightforward than I am when it comes to writing. I tend to be off in the clouds, and it makes sense to me, but it may not make sense to anyone else. I had the first part of the chorus, and he wanted to add "hold on to your hope," because in the waiting that's the one thing you can't lose is hope, even when you can't see. I really wanted to sing "watch your triumph unfold" after reading about Jehoshaphat in 2nd Chronicles. God told him he didn't need to fight in this battle, and I wanted to work that into the song.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV): He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."

Psalm 40:1 (NIV): "I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry."

Isaiah 40:31 (VOICE): "But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run--never winded, never weary. They will walk--never tired, never faint."

Lamentations 3:22-24 (MSG): "God's loyal love couldn't have run out, His merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great is Your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left."

Romans 15:13 (NIV): "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

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."

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV): "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

What is the takeaway message?

I sang this song on a Sunday night for the first time, and it seemed like the congregation got it, to slow down and watch God's triumph unfold. The song really wraps up a ten year process in my life, not that I'm done with the process by any means. I really want this song to touch people who are in the midst of having to hold on to hope and having to press into the promise when you can't see the next step in front of you. 

In Exodus there's a description of God saying to slow down, stand still and watch the salvation of the Lord. In the beginning of the song, I was such a worrier for most of my life, I'd imagine these horrible things happening. Even becoming a mom, it was such a battle in my mind. I wrote the song from that perspective. Don't make up stuff in your mind. Slow down, take time and breathe in. Don't be afraid, just expect God and the very best to come. 

Hope isn't an easy thing. It's this fight inside of us. Oftentimes when you get a promise, there's all this space, and it can be years that you are waiting. People are in the middle of waiting for a promise, and what do you do in those moments? Do you think God has left you? No, He's walking with you and working with you. There's always purpose in the waiting. I want people to know that they can take courage and get through another day in the waiting. Remember who God really is. No matter what we are going through, remember God cares.

Lyrics:
Slow down, take time
"Breathe in," He said
He'd reveal what's to come
The thoughts in His mind
Always higher than mine
He'll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He's never failing
He's never failing

Sing praise my soul
Find strength in joy
Let His Words lead you on
Do not forget
His great faithfulness
He'll finish all He's begun

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He's never failing
He's never failing

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He's never failing
He's never failing

And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory
And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory!

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He's never failing
He's never failing

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He's never failing
He's never failing!

He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting...


The challenge for me in this song is the concept of needing to wait for God's promises, knowing that the challenges I'll face in this fallen world are God's way of making my faith grow stronger in Him alone. I know many times I think I can control outcomes and want things to always go my way. Do you want to be in control? Or do you want God to reveal His plans for you by waiting on Him? Are you waiting for yourself to work things out, or are you waiting for God to reveal Himself? 

This song reminds me that we need to have the type of faith that Jesus describes in the Bible: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Remember the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." If you think about the type of faith we are called to have as believers, it is described as the faith of a mustard seed. Being a Christian means that we walk by faith, not by sight. Faith requires people to rely on the unseen. We all walk by faith every day. The beauty of walking by faith and not by sight is that we can learn to more fully trust God with our lives. The key as a follower of Jesus is to walk by faith and to be guided in your daily walk by prayer and God's infallible Word, the Bible.

This song is all about having a strong faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Sometimes we have a tendency to think we can try to know everything. God tells us in the Bible that with faith, we can do anything in Christ. I'm completely convicted by the strong lyrics and find immense comfort in this song filled with biblical truth. Like her previous songs, "It is Well" and "I Will Follow You," Kristene has once again written a song that touches my heart and meets me where I am spiritually. I love singing out the lyrics: "He's in the waiting, He's in the waiting, and hold onto your hope. Watch your triumph unfold, He's never failing, He's never failing!" Amen to that!

Watch the lyric 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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