Ryan Stevenson's stirring anthem "Eye of the Storm" made history for his music label Gotee Records. Ryan's breakthrough hit topped six charts, including iTunes' Christian and Gospel Songs.
The Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter has since released Wildest Dreams, which features his hit song, “Amadeo (Still My God).” The song has resonated with listeners everywhere with its moving message about clinging to God in the middle of the storms of life. It's the follow-up to his album Fresh Start. I had the chance to speak with Ryan about “Amadeo (Still My God).”
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
Amadeo is a Latin word meaning ‘lover of God’ or ‘I love You, God.’ I took Latin in the seventh grade and remember some of the terms and phrases I learned back in junior high school. When we were working on this song in particular, I had no intention of putting a Latin word in the song. But, we had this melody that was just perfect.
We were singing the phrase, “on my way home” as a placeholder. When I replaced the phrase with “Amadeo” in its place, and when we realized what it meant, it was perfect for this song. That’s the term and the hook of this song, singing “I love You God” over and over, in Latin.
The song's backstory: we pretty much had finished my album. And, in our community in Tennessee, it’s been a crazy time, people have been going through tragic and life-altering events. My friend, Toby, went through the death of his son. I love him so much. I watched how Toby navigated through his storm. The way he responded to this tragedy was life-changing to me: how he loves God and serves Him—no matter what he faces.
I had no intention of writing this song. But, when I saw Toby sharing about his faith, it inspired me to trust God more. It was heavy on my heart to tell God that He’s still my Lord—no matter what I face. This uncertain world we live in will certainly bring trials, as well as potentially life-altering chaos and tragedy.
Like Job said in Job 15, though He slays me, I will trust Him to have the faith to stand firm on the healer, the hope giver, the comforter, to be able to say no matter what, You are still my God. Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
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."
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.”
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.”
Hebrews 6:18-19(NLT): “So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”
Psalm 23:4(VOICE): "Even in the unending shadows of death's darkness, I am not overcome by fear. Because You are with me in those dark moments, near with Your protection and guidance, I am comforted."
Psalm 121(NKJV): "I will lift up my eyes to the hills--From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve you're going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."
Psalm 119:37(NKJV): “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.”
What is the takeaway message?
Colossians 2 says to keep our minds fixed on what's in heaven, not what's on earth. This is something I go back to every day: remembering that God's still God, and He’s still good. He’s in the middle of making everything beautiful, even when everything looks chaotic and nasty to my natural, carnal eyes. But, God is sovereign, and I can trust Him. Our only hope, and our only peace, is from God.
As I get older and reflect on my life, I’m never going to shy away from remembering what the Lord has brought me through. This has been a theme for my life. I don’t ever want to tire of going back to the place of His goodness. Had He not spared me from me, as well as my sins, I don’t know where I’d be now. I want to encourage you to remember what God has done in your life. Remember who He is and what He has done.
I pray my songs say thank you to God. For "Amadeo (Still My God)," the meaning is simple. We’re all just people, human, and fragile. We live in an uncertain world where we’re going to face uncertainties, trials, and struggles. My heart and my prayer for this song are that no matter what we go through, whatever battles we face, whatever struggles we find ourselves up against that we can continue to stay rooted and established in our beloved identity, Christ. Whatever the circumstances are in our life we can say Amadeo. Pray and say, "I love you, God, and I trust You. And, no matter what my situation is you are still my God."
Life can take our breath away Tragedy can leave a wake A broken heart won’t ever beat the same Pain can stop us in our tracks Losing what we can’t get back Shaking the foundations of our faith
No matter what’s in my way No matter the battles I face
You are still my God You’re still my rock My only hope Lord You’re all I’ve got In every valley or mountaintop I’ll say hallelujah
You’re still my God
The questions keep us in the fight The answer’s never black or white We may not know until the other side But even in this in between We fix our eyes on what’s unseen
The shadows never overcome the light No matter what’s in my way I know that You won’t ever change
You’re still my hope You’re still my peace You’re still my joy You’re all I need You’re still my strength When I am weak You’re still my God I still believe
Hymns of the faith, such as "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," contain poetic, biblical descriptions of God, filled with piercingly difficult truths to believe all the time, just like Ryan's “Amadeo (Still My God).” When you put yourself under a microscope and examine whether you really believe all the words of this great song, you'll find that it will challenge your faith.
The timeless passage, Psalm 121, has application as well for us today, living in uncertain times. The song expresses, “we fix our eyes on what’s unseen:” this reflects our current reality of us facing this unseen pandemic.
The challenge for me in this song is the concept of 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?
When we feel like we're on shaky ground, dealing with the uncertainty of our situations, our economy, and our world, this song allows us to dwell on the unshakable nature of God. When all else fades away, He will remain. We all need to remember that we're not able to save ourselves. Only Jesus can give us our identity.
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. So many people can relate to the message of this song and the idea of waiting to see God's promises revealed. So, fix our eyes on Him.
This song is an offering of praise and worship directly to the Lord. It has a sweet aroma of praise. Something that says we can put our hope and trust in Him and Him alone. No matter our circumstances or where we're coming from, we can agree that all glory and honor belongs to God. Ultimately, God's plan for us is to use our circumstances to draw us to Himself.
“Amadeo (Still My God)” connects to the biblical truth found in Psalm 119:37: “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in Your way.” God pours out His mercy despite what we've done, and there's nothing we can do except trust in His son, Jesus.
We can't earn heaven; it's only through complete surrender to Jesus and putting all our hope in Him that we can be saved. As a follower of Jesus, you'll want to join in and sing out: “You are still my God/You’re still my Rock/My only Hope Lord/You’re all I’ve got/In every valley or mountaintop/I’ll say hallelujah/You’re still my God.” 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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