Hope Darst took the Christian music by storm with her stellar debut single, “Peace Be Still.” The recent release of her debut with the same name has been equally as impactful. Her album features an empowering theme of the Lord reigning in our hearts and how we're called to “start over again,” as referenced in the moving track, "Start Over." The song also declares the album's thesis statement: “you don’t have to be afraid.” The album gives listeners words to “sing my way through” with declarations like, “You are a promise keeper/Your word will never fail/My heart can trust You, Jesus/I won’t be overwhelmed.”
Each song serves as a reminder not to let go of hope, to step out of fear and into trust despite life's present struggles—especially heard in her hit single. Hope’s remarkable singing voice and her interesting music and lyrics are truly captivating. What's especially cool about this song is how Hope invites listeners into her life by sharing what's on her heart and reflecting on life and faith issues with every single note. I had the chance to speak with Hope about her latest hit, “Promise Keeper.”
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
This song was written as a declaration of who I believe God is: a promise keeper who never fails us. If you’re like me, there have been many seasons where I’ve had to wrestle through this truth. Where I’ve walked through disappointment, heartache, or loss, I’ve had to ask some questions: Are Your promises still true? Are You still for me? Is there still a future full of hope that won’t harm me? Will You do what You said You would do?
What I have found, over 20 years of walking with the Lord, is that the answer is yes. He always does what He says He’s going to do. It might not happen when I think it should happen or how I think it should happen, but God’s word always shows up.
"Promise Keeper" is one of my favorite songs because it holds truths that I deeply believe and live by: our God is a promise keeper and His word never fails. I haven’t always been so confident of this, and those were the seasons when I had to dig deep to figure out what I believed.
My life alone, the journey of the record, is truly a picture of God keeping His promises. I felt like God told me when I was a young girl that I would be a singer and make albums. But, just like life, there were a lot of twists and turns, and things didn’t go as I had planned.
Twice, I attempted to pursue a career as a recording artist. God shut these attempts down and redirected my steps. Both times were filled with disappointment, but the fear of being disobedient was always stronger. I did what God asked and, in those moments of obedience, I experienced the goodness of God in ways I didn’t expect: left turns that felt like missteps constantly turned into places of healing, freedom, restoration, revelation, and confidence.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Psalm 27:13(NIV): “I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.”
Psalm 46:1(NIV): "The Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble."
Psalm 145:13(NIV): “The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does.”
Hebrews 13:8(NKJV): “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Philippians 4:7(NKJV): “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
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."
What is the takeaway message?
The song's bridge is one of my favorite messages on the whole record. It says what I have had to live out, “I’ll see your goodness in the land of the living, I’ll see your goodness right here, right now.” What we see is a choice. We can look for God’s goodness in every situation of life or only see the bad. It’s not always easy, but it is always fruitful.
I have never seen God break His Word. It didn’t always happen in the way or time that I expected, but He has always done what He said He would do. There is no one more faithful than Him. And, while some hard circumstances will never make sense on this side of heaven, I’m still confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord even here.
His goodness is always surrounding us, and it is always in the circumstance. It’s just whether we have the eyes to see even amid loss, even amid sometimes grieving things that aren’t good or don’t feel good. His goodness is still a promise that He never ever fails us.
I hope this song and the lyrics pulled from Psalm 27:13 that says, "I am confident I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living," encourages you--no matter what you're facing. And, let's be honest, 2020, and now 2021, has us all facing a lot, you can still hold onto the truth of this scripture: Our God is a promise keeper and if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we will find His goodness all around us–even right here, right now.
Your vow’s a covenant unbroken You’ve made it known through history Your love will never be unfaithful Never walk out on me Never walk out on me I have no reason to doubt you Who You’ve been You’ll always be And though the future’s still unfolding With everything I’ve seen How could I not believe
You are a promise keeper Your word will never fail My heart can trust You, Jesus I won’t be overwhelmed My eyes are gonna see Miracles and victories You are a promise keeper And Your word will never fail
You will return all that’s been stolen There’s nothing that You can’t redeem And though the story’s still unfolding With everything I’ve seen How could I not believe (You are)
You are a promise keeper Your word will never fail My heart can trust You, Jesus I won’t be overwhelmed My eyes are gonna see Miracles and victories You are a promise keeper And Your word will never fail (I know Your word never fail)
I’ll see Your goodness in the land of the living I’ll see Your goodness right here right now You know the ending before the beginning I know that You have worked all things out (I know)
I’ll see Your goodness in the land of the living I’ll see Your goodness right here right now (I will) You know the ending before the beginning I know that You have worked all things out I know, I know
You are a promise keeper Your word will never fail My heart can trust You, Jesus I won’t be overwhelmed My eyes are gonna see Miracles and victories (‘cause) You are a promise keeper And Your word will never fail
I’ll see Your goodness in the land of the living I’ll see Your goodness right here right now (oh, oh)
You know the ending before the beginning I know that You have worked all things out (I’ll see it)
I’ll see Your goodness (I see Your goodness) In the land of the living (Oh it’s all around me, God) I’ll see Your goodness right here right now You know the ending (I‘ll trust You, God) Before the beginning (I trust You’ve worked it all out) I know that You have worked all things out
As followers of Jesus, we know that we can trust God's Word. We're all a work in progress. So, have faith and let God work all things together for good. Spend time with God and let Him redeem and restore you. We're 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 our hope and trust in Jesus for our salvation.
Here's what Charles Spurgeon, an English Baptist preacher, says about Romans 8:28: "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."
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.
"Promise Keeper" gives me more conviction to not feel worthless or afraid. With many areas in our lives, we spend a lot of time worrying. We need to let that go and let the Lord be our redeemer. As the song goes, "You know the ending before the beginning/I know that You have worked all things out." 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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