With a unique sound that blends traditional Irish folk instruments with modern worship music, Rend Collective has become a household name in the Christian music scene. Hailing from Northern Ireland, the band has captured the hearts of fans worldwide with their infectious and joyful sound.
Comprising lead vocalist Chris Llewellyn, drummer Gareth Gilkeson, and other talented musicians who share a passion for creating music that celebrates the goodness of God, Rend Collective has become one of the most well-known and respected worship bands in the industry.
Rend Collective's latest album, Whosoever, continues its tradition of delivering uplifting and encouraging music. According to the band, the album is about God's vast, generous embrace and is named after Romans 10:13-15: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
The album's standout songs include "Let it Roll," "Boast in the Cross," "Plans," "Gratefulness," "As for Me," and "Hallelujah Anyway." The latter song is exceptional, marking the 13th time Rend Collective featured in my weekly devotionals. In a recent interview before their concert with Christian contemporary band MercyMe in Reading, Pennsylvania, I spoke with lead singer Chris Llewellyn and drummer Gareth Gilkeson about their thoughts on the song.
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
Chris: "Hallelujah Anyway" is a powerful song for finding joy and celebration amid difficult situations. It speaks to the space between faith and fears many of us find ourselves in. The song serves as a reminder to trust in God’s character—even when circumstances seem uncertain.
The song’s inspiration came from a challenging experience: the unexpected diagnosis of our son. But we see this song as a source of strength for ourselves and our listeners. It serves as a pillar for us to lean on and a reminder that God can make beauty from our ashes.
We hope this song encourages others never to cease praising and to keep faith that God can create beautiful things—even in the darkest moments of our lives.
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 96:4-6(MSG): “For God is great and worth a thousand Hallelujahs. His furious beauty puts the other gods to shame; Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags. God made the heavens—Royal splendor radiates from Him; A powerful beauty sets Him apart.”
John 8:12(MSG): Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows Me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live."
Psalm 57:7-9 (NIV): "My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul. Awake, harp, and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples."
Psalm 5:11(ESV): "But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may exult in You."
Psalm 150:2(VOICE): "Praise Him for His powerful acts, redeeming His people. Praise Him for His greatness that surpasses our time and understanding."
Job 1:20-22 (NKJV): "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.' In all this, Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong."
What is the takeaway message?
Gareth: Similar to our song "Plans," this new track is a powerful reminder that even in the toughest times—be it a pandemic, loss, health struggles, or when our prayers seem unanswered—God always has a plan for us. We wanted to capture this emotion musically, which is why the song's elements hang unresolved, reflecting the reality of life's challenges.
God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we want, and seeing His presence during those times can be difficult. Having been through painful and isolating experiences, we understand this firsthand. But we have also realized that even amid our struggles, God is always present. It may be hard to see through the pain and hurt, but we know we can see God's fingerprints all over our situations whenever we emerge from those valleys. We trust that God is working behind the scenes and that His plan for us is always good.
I’ll find a way to praise You
From the bottom of my broken heart
‘Cause I think I’d rather strike a match
Than curse the dark
Yeah, I’ll find a way to thank You
Though bitterness is real and hard
‘Cause I’d rather take a chance on hope
Than fall apart
I don’t think I’m ready to surrender to the dark Even if my daylight never dawns
Even if my breakthrough never comes
Even if I’ll fight to bring You praise
Even if my dreams fall to the ground
Even if I’m lost, I know I’m found
Even if my heart will somehow say
Hallelujah anyway I hear a hymn of triumph
In the wilderness of my lament
In the lowlands or the mountain tops, I won’t forget
All that goodness that You have shown me
The promises that You have kept
There’s better days on the horizon up ahead Let it rise, let it rise
In the dark, or the light
Oh, my soul stand and fight.
If you’ve got a song to sing, let it rise
Recent events have caused me stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and trauma. This song reminds me not to worry about things I can’t change or control. I connect with the song's opening lyrics: “I’ll find a way to praise You/From the bottom of my broken heart.” We have nothing to bring. Jesus is a Man of sorrows and acquainted with our grief. When we kneel before Him, like God's servant, Job, raising our empty hands, we are closest to God. That's a gift God wants all His children to have.
God included the Book of Job to remind us how He wants us to handle trials. In that scripture, Satan tests Job to see if he can cause him to lose faith by causing pain and suffering. Job's friends counsel him that he must have unrepented sins, causing him to lose his family and health.
That's our challenge when we lift our hands in praise and sing to God, “Even if my dreams fall to the ground/Even if I’m lost, I know I’m found/Even if my heart will somehow say/Hallelujah anyway.” Do we have the faith to recognize that God uses trials in our lives to refine us and remind us of our need for Him, or are we forsaking God in those times?
When you sing this song, the devotional thought we should all think about is whether we are submitting our lives to God’s truth or just singing the words. He wants us to boldly approach the throne of mercy and grace to receive and get what we need from Him. Our burdens are removed when we acknowledge our identity in Christ.
I’m drawn to this song's poetic and powerful expressions of faith. What's truly remarkable is that this upbeat track offers encouragement and motivation to persevere in our faith journey and finish the race of life strong.
This song beautifully conveys that God deeply loves and cares for us and always knows what we need. It is a powerful reminder of our faith and challenges us to examine how closely we walk with God. Upon closer reflection of the song's lyrics, it encourages us to strengthen our faith and deepen our relationship with God.
Instead of dwelling in self-pity and despair, we must live each day knowing that, as Romans 8:28 puts it, God has a plan for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. It’s a reminder that we bring nothing to the table and that everything we have comes from God.
What a gift and promise to know that He makes beauty out of our ashes. That's worthy of all our praise. I have adopted the anthem as my daily prayer: “I hear a hymn of triumph/In the wilderness of my lament/In the lowlands or the mountain tops, I won’t forget/All that goodness that You have shown me/The promises that You have kept/There’s better days on the horizon up ahead.” Amen to that.
NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime Christian music fan and an avid music collector. He 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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