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Compelling Songs of Hope
Posted February 23, 2017
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer

It's been a few years since a movie hit the screen that could compel a variety of artists to lend their voices to a set of unique songs for an "inspired by" soundtrack. The Shack has proved to be a movie that could create just that response, with The Shack: Music From and Inspired by The Original Motion Picture collection boasting offerings from some of contemporary music's finest in a variety of genres.

"Heaven Knows" by Hillsong UNITED enhances the compilation with a call to worship, capturing the essence of Psalm 119: "I will listen to You. For the entry of Your word brings light and understanding to all." Houston's and Taya Smith's gorgeous harmonizing over an alternative and ambient worshipful vibe sets the proper tone for these songs of contemplative, emotional and vulnerable worship, capturing the essence of this album in the bridge: "then sings my soul, how great You love me." These are all eternity-minded tracks as in the face of tragedy and despair, our God in Heaven knows what we need.

"Where Were You" by Francesca Battistelli features another theme found throughout this album: wondering where God can be found in times of pain of suffering. The root of our faith and salvation is God and His Word. You'll be raising your heart and hands in worship along with the honest and prayerful song as Francesca sings "Where were You when my worst fears were coming true? I thought that You would come to my rescue, where were You?" That type of honest questioning is answered later in the song, "When my prayers bounced off the ceiling, I was facing down my demons, when my legs gave out beneath me, I fell into Your arms."

"HARD LOVE" by NEEDTOBREATHE (recast with a feature from Lauren Daigle) is compelling music. The song personifies the band's challenge of standing up for what's right in a dark world. Throughout their last album, the band subtly includes references to the "dance" of life in a few contexts, taking us on the journey of life lessons learned in "HARD LOVE." Bear Rinehart and Lauren Daigle's powerful vocals lift this song to its highest point in the bridge: "When the wolves come and hunt me down, I will face them all and stand my ground, 'cause there's a fire burnin' in me, they will see my strength in this love I found."

"Stars" by Skillet is a great celebratory anthem about what it means to have hope in Christ. Sometimes it is hard to believe that God loves us so much that He knows us intimately, and He wants to fill our hearts with love as promised in Romans 8:38-39 (NIV): "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That's cause to celebrate and sing out to Him: "You're never too far away, You never show up too late. So here I am lifting up my heart to the One who holds the stars."

"I'll Think About You" by We Are Messengers is the only song from the compilation that can be heard in its entirety in the film, featured in one of the most emotional moments of loss and catharsis. The worship band beautifully captures our need for hope in Jesus and His promise of Heaven for those who love Him and put their faith in Him. That sentiment is expressed in the song: "When I don't know what to believe, I'll believe in You." The thread of God's love and eternity is also found throughout the tracks by Dan + Shay ("When I Pray"), Tim McGraw & Faith Hill ("Keep Your Eyes on Me"), Lady Antebellum ("Lay Your Flowers Down") and for KING & COUNTRY's rendition of "Amazing Grace."

The Bottom Line: This is a completely worshipful and reflective album, providing a reverent compilation of songs as a companion for this stirring film based on the best-selling book The Shack. These fourteen tracks are sung with an amazing passion and with unashamed praise and gratitude for God's faithfulness and love. The eternal love of God is beautifully expressed in these compelling songs of hope, fitting for a movie about the nature of God's love.

Song to Download Now
"Stars (The Shack Version)" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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