BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#964 - "Isaac" by Hollyn
Hollyn shares a story of redemption in her latest single.
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #964 -
Posted: March 26, 2019 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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In 2015, Hollyn burst onto the Christian pop scene with her self-titled EP, featuring her standout debut hit single, "Alone." Shortly thereafter, Hollyn showed up on TobyMac's album This is Not a Test, as a featured artist. Hollyn followed that up with her first full-length release One-Way Conversations. The 2017 album added to Hollyn's list of hits: "Love with Your Life," "All My Love" and "Can't Live Without." With comparisons to contemporaries ranging from Lauren Daigle to Britt Nicole, 22-year old Hollyn exhibits the passion and confidence of a seasoned artist.

Hollyn's songwriting is real, positive and vulnerable. And, her upbeat songs are a great way to celebrate our freedom in Christ. According to her website, "Hollyn's latest releases reveal tension and truth in a vulnerable, authentic, and raw way. 'Everything and More/Isaac' and 'You Won't/Horizon' expose two sides of the same story. While dissonant, they go together beautifully and were made to coexist."

Hollyn is a great role model for girls. Her catalog of upbeat and catchy songs really ministers to me and my family. Hollyn's music has connected with my daughters. Her biblically-inspired lyrics represent how her true happiness and her identity comes from her relationship with God. I had the chance to speak with Hollyn in-person before her appearance at Winter Jam in Reading, Pennsylvania about her worshipful song, "Isaac."


Please tell me the personal story behind the song.

I was in Indiana in November 2017. And, in May of that year, I had met someone and was in a relationship with him for six months. In that time, I was really struggling with my identity: the things in my mind and my heart that I knew were true, specifically about God. This person believed some of the same things as me. But, he had twisted my mind and heart into a dark place. It bled over into a lot of areas of my life.

I found myself in a very difficult season. I accepted a tour with Sadie Robertson from October through November. And, at the end of that tour, I felt depleted. Self-imploding. And, no matter how much I prayed, I felt uncomfortable. I felt God's conviction and kindness in a scary way, because I knew I was being disobedient. But, I didn't know how to get out of it, without hurting the people around me.

I wasn't in the right frame of mind to write songs. But, I remember God speaking to me, and the pre-chorus of my song, "Isaac" came out: "No, don't rush what I've started/See I am doing a new thing." That was the beginning of writing this song. I went back home. I was at a low point in my life, asking Him a lot of questions.

I had to let go of things I was holding onto. God saw the full picture of what was ahead for me. I thought this person I was letting go of was the person God had for me, and I had to let him go. My grandmother told me it sounded like the story of Abraham and Isaac. I understood, but I didn't know what I was getting in return for letting something go in my life. I was hoping that whatever God had for me would be better.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV): "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."

Isaiah 43:19 (VOICE): "Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it's happening now, even as I speak, and you're about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none."

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."
 
1 John 4:19 (VOICE): "We love because He has first loved us."

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

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."

Romans 12:2 (VOICE): "Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete."

My life verse is 1 Timothy 4:12: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
 

What is the takeaway message?

As I got healthier and spent time with the Lord, finishing this song all stemmed from me believing and knowing God had something better planned for me than I could see at the time. Whatever my "Isaac" was I had to give it up in exchange for whatever God had for me. I feel like "Isaac" is my life over the past two years. The next year, I met my husband. That was God's plan for me.

In the process, I learned that God's character was different than I thought it was to me. The way I interpreted His love was based on what I was doing for Him. And, in this situation, I was so out of my comfort zone. He gave me the choice to be His friend and trust Him with my situation.

People need to understand that even in their darkest seasons, they can trust God. No amount of time or preparation can compare to what God has planned for them. The same God who directs me in every relationship and career move has removed me from the grip of anxiety and depression, and has shown me the evidence of how He shows His plans and promises in my life. I think He wants to do that in all of our lives. We all have an "Isaac" that God wants us to give up for Him. He will make it known. (Read the story of Isaac in Genesis 22.)

Lyrics:
Even when I feel like I'm gonna break
I will lift my hands to You
 
Open up, lift your hands higher
I know it's hard
Give Me back what I have given
Trust My heart
I have loved him before you have
Follow Me
Slowly we will climb together
I'm not leavin' you, yeah
 
This is so important
No, don't rush what I've started
See I am doing a new thing
Yeah, a new thing
 
You're faithful to me
I'm faithful to You
You loved me first
No questions asked
You're faithful to me
I'm faithful to You
'Cause You loved me first
No questions asked
 
Open up your eyes so you see what I see
Heaven's closer than you ever dreamed it'd be
Closer than you dreamed it'd be
 
You're faithful to me
I'm faithful to You
You loved me first
No questions asked
You're faithful to me
I'm faithful to You
'Cause You loved me first
No questions asked
 
I will lift my hands
So, I will lift my hands
Even when I feel like I'm gonna break
I know what You say to me never changes
I will lift my hands to You
I will lift my hands to You
God I trust, You got somethin' better for me
I know You got somethin' better for me
I trust that You got better for me
I trust that You got better for me
 
You're faithful to me
I'm faithful to You
You loved me first
No questions asked
You're faithful to me
I'm faithful to You
'Cause You loved me first
And no questions asked
 
I will lift my hands
I'll lift my hands and surrender to You
So, I will lift my hands
I'll just say yes
I'll just say yes, yeah
Even when I feel like I'm gonna break
I know what You're say to me never changes
I will lift my hands to You

Isaac will be saved


Closing Thoughts

I can perfectly relate to every word Hollyn enthusiastically sings in this song. The tendency for me, as a believer, is to focus on the blessings I've received from God. "Isaac" is a gut check of my faithfulness. If all of those things were removed from me, would I still understand that I'm blessed and cling to God for my security and hope?

We should not be ashamed to sing of our dependence on God and to show Him reverence. What are those things in your life that are beyond you that you can turn over to God? Allow Him and His supernatural ability to take you to places that you can't handle on your own. Are you spending too much time thinking about your circumstances and what you can do to improve them. Or, are you connecting with God's heart? He says in Matthew 6:34, "Do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself, living faithfully is a large enough task for today."

The enemy uses fear, anxiety and worry to prevent us from sharing our faith, from fixing our eyes on Jesus and from the greater things that God has in store for us as His followers. "Isaac" is all about having strong faith. Without faith, it's 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. We can't know everything, and we are not in control, but trusting God gives us assurance that we don't have to be afraid. God will be there to pick us up when we fall.

The challenge for me when I listen to "Isaac" is to pick an area of my life that I've been trying to control and instead step out and put all of my hope and trust in God.

Ask God to open your eyes today. Ask Him to reveal His footsteps so you can follow them. Jesus commands us to trust God's Word completely, no matter our circumstances or personal distractions or concerns. God doesn't promise to spare us from pain, but we need to trust Him. This song challenges me to think about how well I'm loving others. 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because He first loved us."
 
God's love was given at an outrageous cost: the life of His only begotten Son. Not only should we love God because He first loved us, but we should also love others unconditionally because, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God, our Creator, adores us immensely; He sent Jesus to die for us to show us the definition of love. 

You have to trust Him and wait on Him, wait for Him to orchestrate the plans for your life. You have nothing to bring to God. And, maybe you expect something in return instead of recognizing that nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus. Faith is when we are empty of ourselves and filled with Him and His Holy Spirit.
 
Hollyn is clearly a grateful believer who is unashamed of her salvation. Many of her songs are invitations into her prayer life. If you don't know how to word your prayers of thankfulness for what Jesus has done for you, just sing along with this incredible song of faith. It's okay to not be okay and bring your thoughts to the Lord no matter what you are thinking. Just like you don't have to wash your hands before you take a shower, just get into a relationship with the Lord and then profess that relationship to Him, "You're faithful to me/I'm faithful to You/You loved me first/No questions asked." Amen to that.

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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