SWITCH is the student ministry of Life.Church. Based in Edmond, Oklahoma, they recently released Symphony, an EP containing a mix of worship and upbeat pop songs, including "Lifeline," "Obsession" and the title track. A theme that SWITCH weaves throughout their album is about remembering our identity of who we are in Christ.
Many years ago I saw the movie Mr. Holland's Opus starring Richard Dreyfuss. Growing up playing alto saxophone in concert band and marching band, I could really relate how in the movie it was depicted that as a team we can all become something bigger than ourselves. That's truly the call of each of us as believers. "Symphony" represents God's role in the life of the believer.
I had the chance to speak with Cassidy Estevez and JT Murrell about "Symphony." Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
Cassidy: For some context, SWITCH is a group of worship pastors from Life.Church. We get together and write songs for our church. We are in it with people and we are walking with people, hearing different stories week in and week out. When we came together to write for this project, we were sharing stories of what we've been hearing and what we've been facing ourselves personally. Themes arose, and one of those themes which we landed on for this song, was how everyone has gone through some type of chaos in their lives, whether it is unemployment, family issues, marriage distress, difficulty raising kids, everybody has some type of chaos in their lives. We wanted to write a song that could be a prayer for people to sing in the middle of those circumstances. "Even in the madness there is peace." God is always at work in the middle of our difficulties. That's how this song started. We were in the studio working on lyrics together and ended up with this song.
JT: We were working on the song and Cassidy and her husband Rob were in Los Angeles last summer and the only thing that was missing was a bridge for the song. I sat down with Dillon Chase, who is part of our church community here, he talks about in the bridge "So we all gotta get pressed, tuned up like instruments." If you think about how when you tune a guitar string, when it gets tuned up or down it's like how we as believers walk through these seasons where we are getting tuned and pulled and stretched and at the end of that we find the note that helps us play our part in the symphony.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
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."
Psalm 9:10 (NKJV): "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."
Psalm 91:2 (NKJV): "I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV): "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV): "For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV): "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."
Philippians 1:6 (NKJV): "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
John 15:4-5 (VOICE): "Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing."
John 17:21 (VOICE): "Father, may they all be one as You are in Me and I am in You; may they be in Us, for by this unity the world will believe that You sent Me."
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT): "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."
What is the takeaway message?
Cassidy: I think about how when I go to an orchestra and watch a symphony perform, sometimes the individual melody on its own might not make sense without the context of the orchestra. The violinist has to trust that the rest of the orchestra comes in at the right time and makes a beautiful masterpiece in the end. I grew up playing classical piano and I would practice a piece of music and on its own, it wouldn't make much sense or be super pretty sounding. In the context of an orchestra when everything is moving together and you can zoom out and see the masterpiece, that's when it all makes sense. This song reminds us that even when you can only see a small part right now, God is doing something bigger and He is crafting something beautiful that we can only see when we zoom out. Remember that He is working everything for our good. I think it's so interesting how Romans 8:28 says that all things work for the good of those who love Him. It doesn't say the comfort or happiness. This song helps remind people that even when you may not see the good, you can know and stand in faith that He is working for our good. All of His promises are yes and amen. That's a beautiful promise. No matter what we're facing, God sees you and knows you and He has a plan for you. That plan is coming to pass even through your difficulties. He never wastes a hurt or a season, we can trust that He is crafting something through everything.
JT: We do grow weary in these trials. We get tired in our flesh and in the world. Scripture is clear that the way we come to terms with that is to spend time in God's Word. We are meant to do life with other people in our community. It wouldn't be a symphony otherwise. Be rooted in Scripture. That's the only way you can understand the symphony as it plays out.
Lyrics: Sometimes it's hard to breathe
All these thoughts that shout at me
Try to bring me to my knees
And it's overwhelming
Darkness echoes all around
Feels like everything is crashing down
Still I know where my hope is found
And it's only You
You say You're working
Everything for my good, and
I believe every word
'Cause even in the madness
There is peace
Drowning out the voices all around me
Through all of this chaos
You are writing a symphony
And even in the madness
There is peace
Drowning out the voices all around me
Through all of this chaos
You are writing a symphony
Tune my heart to Your beat
Let me be Your melody
Even when I cannot see
What You're orchestrating
Even when the dark surrounds
You'll never let me drown
I know that my hope is found
In the name of Jesus
I wanna truly know if You compose
Beautiful music though
From all my unruly notes
The distance is dissonance
Move in close
Now I see erased the scales from eyes
Then played the scale of my life
Chaos played off with a chord in accord
With the source prevailing through strife
And I've tasted suffering
I've been embraced by the painful buffering
I Been bound by doubts so loud right now
But a melody is made when you play these rusty keys
So we all gotta get pressed
Tuned up like instruments
But I know
All of life's tempo is set
Whenever we remember this
One of the reasons I feel so strongly about featuring female artists making faith-based music, like Cassidy Estevez and SWITCH, is that they are representing a desire for holiness and purity to my three daughters, which is so important. God's love is a pure and unconditional love that the world doesn't know unless you have tasted and seen the goodness and purity of Jesus and His love for us. Commit to holiness and purity in your life, trust in Jesus, and this song can be your anthem. No matter what you've done, you can be pure in the Lord's sight.
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. We are not at the end of our story. God's still writing our stories of redemption. God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what's He's started in all of us who've put all of our hope and trust in Jesus for our salvation.
Here's what Charles Spurgeon says about Romans 8:28 in his Morning and Evening Devotional on August 5th. "Upon some points, a believer is absolutely sure. He knows too that God is always wise, and knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur which ought not to arise. He can say, "If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have, if God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall to me if God ordains it." We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact."
Something I love about this song which is an offering of praise and worship directly to the Lord is that it has a "sweet aroma" of praise, as we can put all of our hope and trust in Him and Him alone with every lyric of this song. No matter our circumstances or where we are coming from, we can all agree that all glory and honor belongs to God. Ultimately God's plan for us as believers is to use our circumstances to draw us to Himself. This song helps us realize that if your eyes are open to the needs of others around you, and if you serve others and care about people more than think about your selfishness and doubts, then you can have the unity that God desires for His sons and daughters in the body of Christ, and live out the symphony that God is conducting in our lives when we serve others together and follow and trust Him.
"Symphony" is such a great song and anthem of praise. Many of my favorite songs are based on the joy and themes of trusting in God from the Psalms and Proverbs. So many people struggle to apply God's Word to their lives. If we learn to build our lives on Scripture, we would all have a Rock as our foundation, in how we navigate our lives. The Good News of the Gospel which this song perfectly portrays is that God accepts us no matter what we've done or what we are going through. This song gives me more conviction to not feel worthless or afraid. With many areas in our lives, we also spend a lot of time worrying. We need to let that go, and allow the Lord to be our Redeemer. As the song sings, "'Cause even in the madness there is peace, drowning out the voices all around me, through all of this chaos, You are writing a symphony." 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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