BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#304 - "I See God In You" by Lara Landon
Lara Landon shares the inspiration behind her latest single.
 


Singer-songwriter Lara Landon’s career began with opportunities most only dream about. Landon’s debut album, Beloved, was produced by GRAMMY® award-winning talent Michael Omartian. In fact, the Beloved recording process proved to be not only the chance of a lifetime but also breeding grounds for her artistry, as she was able to work with well-respected songwriter/producers like Jason Ingram, Plumb and Mitch Dane. Beloved solidified Landon’s identity in Christ and resonated with fans as they, too, discovered how they could become His beloved thanks, in part, to successful radio single “Closer,” which stayed on the charts for most of 2010.
 
If Beloved conveyed Landon’s revelation about who we are in Christ, her sophomore project, Overcome, speaks to our authority as His beloved to triumph over life’s most difficult circumstances. Landon has taken that message on tour and abroad, serving the least of these with New Reality International, the non-profit she and her sister co-founded in 2006. Meeting needs firsthand—whether it be in Haiti on a mission trip or in church singing—is a significant part of the Riverside, California-native’s ministry and has undoubtedly had a profound effect on her. But Landon affirms the depth of her songwriting was most influenced by the three years she spent singing at Nashville’s House of Prayer. “I loved the world that opened up to me at The House of Prayer,” says Landon. “I never thought I could sing and pray for hours on end. I learned how to make up Scripture songs on the spot, and I began to feel the depth that could come from using God’s Word to pray and intercede.” The songs on her new record reflect Landon’s time spent in the Word and a sensitivity to the needs and diversity of her fans.
 
In 2011 Landon submerged herself in writing and recording songs that reflected the past few years and her new life experiences. “I wanted this album to truly reflect my heart and, most of all, I wanted to offer it up at every stage to God for His approval,” she says. “I promised myself, for this project, I would try my best to quiet the voice inside my head that was concerned with what people would think and focus on what I thought God was directing me to do. My desire was that this record, as a whole, would tell a story,” says Landon. “I wanted to take people from a place of confronting their humanity and weakness on songs like ‘Better For The Breaking,’ ‘Defenseless’ and ‘Falling’ to being encouraged by tracks like ‘I See God In You.’ Toward the end it’s all about victory and empowerment—I want listeners to literally be declaring ‘we will overcome’ and ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me’ as they sing along in their car.” Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay) co-wrote and produced first single “I See God In You,” a song inspired by her mission trips to Haiti as well as a month spent on a service-based tour that ministered at homeless shelters, bars, women’s rehabilitation centers and churches. I had the chance to interview Lara about the song.
 
Please tell me the personal story that inspired writing the song "I See God In You."
 
I've seen God in so many people throughout my life--my Dad, who's been such a beautiful example to me of my Heavenly Father's love, my friends who radiate God's light as they sing and worship and most of all the beautiful faces of the children I had the honor of serving on my medical mission trips to Haiti. One little boy stands out in my memory. I first saw the smile I will never forget while playing ball with the kids behind Haitian Christian Mission in Fonds Parisien Haiti. The little boy was not playing with the others, but smiling as he watched their game. Occasionally the ball would bounce his way and he would enthusiastically try to kick it back to the others. As I walked closer to him to invite him to join us, I noticed his completely broken sandals and his mangled bloody toes. I was shocked and rushed him to the front of the line at the medical clinic where the doctors who had come with us were seeing hundreds and hundreds of patients every day. Eric, the doctor, bandaged his toes and we gave him some children's tylenol to take home, wherever that was. He never stopped smiling and didn't seem to understand or communicate he was in pain. I brought him some clean t-shirts and nutrition bars which he gobbled up. I didn't want to leave him, send him off into the evening alone with his limp so I tried to communicate to him I wanted to walk him home. He took my hand and led me to a row of concrete blocks. I learned that after the earthquake, people who had lost their homes in the mountains in small villages came down to squat in these concrete blocks. I handed him to his dad, with the t-shirts, a bag of food and a measly $20. I felt so powerless thinking "how could such a small offering help this family get back on their feet again?" I turned quickly and walked away as fast as I could trying to hold back tears.
 
It was the usual stifling, muggy night and I couldn't get him off of my mind so I went to join the nightly worship service that went on at the mission often until 2AM. That's when I spotted his sweet smile. He had a light of recognition in his eyes when he saw me and limped over to me. He put one of his little arms around me and one in the air to worship. It was at once the most beautiful yet heart wrenching moments of my life. I cherished the feeling of his little warm hand and the love of God radiated through me. It was the moment I realized God was indeed alive and active, pouring His Grace into each and every believer even in this devastated country.
 
Do you have a life verse or any Bible verses you used in writing the song?

Matthew 25:40: The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.’
 
What's the takeaway message for listeners regarding the song?
 
The song "I See God In You" is about recognizing the spirit of God in people like this little boy. I've received numerous pictures and stories about the people that have carried that spirit of God and shown His love. The faith and love inspired in me and others by the example and light that shines out of true believers gives me hope! I pray this song gives every listener hope that God is alive and active, the shining light in all true believers. I want this song to provoke the questions: Who have you seen God in? And how has that strengthened your faith, hope and love? Jesus taught us "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” If we learned to recognize the Spirit of God in all people from the least to the greatest, perhaps it would become our habit to treat them as we would treat Jesus himself. God is everywhere. We see Him in the faith of a child, the strength of a mother that’s battling cancer, the love that was shown by a group of volunteers on a mission trip. We can serve Him by simply opening our eyes to the people He’s placed all around us.
 
Lyrics:
There’s something different in your eyes
something honest in the way you speak
every time you come around me
one look at you and I feel at peace
the angels can’t be very far
I love what I see in your heart

I see God in you
I know that’s not something you go around saying
but I do believe it’s true
I see God in you
I want to say
I finally found my strength in the light that shines in you
That’s what I see
I see God in you

Did you know that you’re the person
who’s shown me who it is I want to be?
Every time I feel I’m falling
I can count on you to stand by me
I’ve never known someone like you before
how can I say how beautiful you are?

I see God in you
I know that’s not something you go around saying
but I do believe it’s true
I see God in you
I want to say
I finally found my strength in the light that shines in you
That’s what I see
I see God in you

God must have known just what I needed
someone to show me His true love
I know better now who He really is
I’ve seen a glimpse in you

I see God in you
I know that’s not something you go around saying
but I do believe it’s true
I see God in you
I want to say
I finally found my strength in the light that shines in you
That’s what I see
I see God in you

Matthew Henry’s commentary:
“Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from His calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to Him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered.”
 
Lara’s main goal with this great new song is to encourage people to share their stories about the people in their lives whom they see God in. This is her focus as it is something bigger than just a song.  It is a movement to tell stories, to share encouragement.  She has created a special webpage where you can submit the stories and photos of who you see God in.
 
We need to remember to that “Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, mark the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ” as stated by Matthew Henry. In identifying with our sin, Christ paved the way for us to become identified with the righteousness of God. It is not merely that we acquire a right standing or do good works; we actually become righteous--although the latter may well presume the former. For in Christ we truly assume His righteousness, just as Christ assumed our sin. It is commanded by Jesus in Matthew 5:16 to "let your light shine" so that others may praise God based on seeing the power of His life in us. 
 
Sometimes we forget to give Jesus credit for our freedom and accomplishments. We need to celebrate that freedom with our hands reaching out to others in Christ and show His light in us and let Him shine in us.  In closing, be encouraged by the light of Jesus shining in all of us based on our faith in Him and personally I am very moved knowing that Jesus is shining in me for all to see and believe. While listening to this song, I am challenged to   practice "letting our light shine so that others may praise our Father in Heaven." That’s how we can show God in us to others. Also, look for God in the “least of these” as Jesus tells us, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”
 

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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