Lessons from Laura's time as a worship leader and as a mother season her spiritually rich songs of hope and praise. Building on her previous two books, When God Doesn’t Fix It and I Give Up, So Long, Normal, sheguides us to leave behind the idols of comfort, caution, and routine so we can live strong and well, even when life takes an unwelcome turn.
Laura says in a press release, “Jesus doesn’t just save us from hell in the next life; He saves us from our addiction to ‘normal’ lives this side of eternity. Our preference for cautious, ordinary lives is really rooted in a lack of faith and a failure to understand how much better His plan is than ours.”
The beauty of "Hello Unknown" is that it captures both the realism and the joy of what it means to surrender to God. I had the chance to speak with Laura about her new heartfelt single.
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
“Hello Unknown” was written in those COVID-19 pandemic days when our world was under strict quarantine and the country was plagued with social and political unrest. Everyone I knew was anxious over everything. It was a frustrating and tense time as tours had been canceled and church services were virtual.
The song is about how we respond as believers when something unprecedented disrupts our normal patterns of life. The hope we find in Jesus calms our hearts and soothes our anxiety. That’s not all, though. We can be confident, joyful and, on some level, excited about the unknown. The first step can be a lament about loss.
There are things we need to process with the Lord. If we believe God’s character is good, and His plans are for our good and His glory, there’s a sense of excitement we can have about an unknown future and we can face it with confidence and joy.
What Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Romans 8:15-17(MSG): “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with Him!”
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.”
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."
Philippians 4:6(VOICE): “Don't be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”
Philippians 4:7(NKJV): "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Romans 12:1-2(NIV): "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will."
2 Corinthians 12:9(NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
What is the takeaway message?
The truth about change is this: in the shifting or even collapsing of everything familiar in life, we don't have to wring our hands with fear. Change is part of life and the sooner that we can learn to look to our faith for security rather than the familiar, the sooner we can step into the glorious adventure that God invites us to embark upon (and what a thrilling journey it will be).
When we surrender, we invite God into our story as our King, and we take our rightful place in his story as beloved children and heirs. That kind of surrender is the real secret to joy--joy that's never threatened by circumstances that change day-to-day. It leads to a life that is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, "What's next, Papa?," as mentioned in Romans 8:15 (MSG). Who wouldn't release their attempts to control life's crazy twists and turns to live like a fearless, well-loved child, instead?
I’ve grown accustomed to the way things are I’m way more comfortable when it’s familiar I want a life where I can guard my heart Cause easy is easy
I like the solid ground beneath my feet The kind of road that someone else paved before me I need a plan that both my eyes can see
But You call me to mystery
I am letting go Of everything I’ve known Farewell predictable No more playing it safe I’ll free fall into faith I’ll say goodbye control Hello unknown
I’m prone to find a way to skip the hard The very trials You would use to refine me There’s beauty You create through every scar If only I'm willing
Lord Jesus I’m willing
I am letting go Of everything I’ve known Farewell predictable oh No more playing it safe I’ll free fall into faith I’ll say goodbye control Hello unknown
What if I follow where You lead What if the narrow road is steep You know the plans You have for me What if it’s through the valley deep What if it’s only You and me I still have everything I need Jesus, You are everything I need
I am letting go
Of everything I’ve known Farewell predictable No more playing it safe I’ll free fall into faith I’ll say goodbye control Hello unknown Hello unknown Hello unknown
"Hello Unknown" challenges me to think about what I'm allowing to rule in my heart instead of giving myself completely to God. This song is all about trusting in God and confessing to Him and others when you fail or have struggles.
Lay your doubts and struggles at the feet of Jesus, and He'll take them from you and release you from those burdens. God wants to hear from you. We're called as Christians to believe in the freedom that we have on the cross of Jesus. We're free from our addictions, insecurities, and perfectionism. Jesus came to die for us so that we can all truly live in Him.
This is a great and challenging song for believers. We raise our hands to celebrate and surrender, and lift our hands in confidence to God, and know that His mercy is unfailing. His love is never-ending. He is our refuge and our strength.
God's ultimate will is to not bring affliction upon us but to us so that we may experience His unfailing love. God doesn't promise to spare us from pain, but He does promise that He’ll walk us through it. So, we must trust and wait on Him.
Wait for God to orchestrate the plans for your life. You have nothing to bring to God. 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.
All we can do is submit to Him and give everything we have to Him. According to God's Word in Jeremiah 29:13, we need to search for God with all our heart, and then we will find Him. In our fast-paced society, how often are we dedicating our whole hearts to God? Do we offer up half-hearted prayers, or do we seek Him with all our heart?
Lift your voice and life to God and submit to Him. My hope for this song is for people to pray along and live out the truth behind these words: “I need a plan that both my eyes can see/But You call me to mystery.” Being a Christian means that we are called to walk by faith, not by sight. We all walk by faith every day. 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.
Our fears of the unknown are normal. Laura poignantly challenges us to say, “So Long, Normal.” The lyrics, “If only I’m willing/Lord Jesus I’m willing,” should be the heartbeat of every faithful Christian. You'll be raising your heart and lifting your eyes in worship along with this great new song. I sing this song and proclaim to God: “I am letting go of everything I’ve known/Farewell predictable/No more playing it safe/I’ll free fall into faith/I’ll say goodbye control/Hello unknown.” Amen to that.
NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a long-time 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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