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Monday, February 8, 2010

Wearing "Walk by Faith" by Jeremy Camp


by Susanne Dietze

Have you ever worn a song before?

No, I don't mean a concert t-shirt, emblazoned with song lyrics. I mean metaphorically worn a song, donned it like a coat and allowed it to stick to you closer than static-tight socks. I’m not talking about “ear bugs,” either, those songs and TV jingles that get stuck in your head and never leave, but rather the songs that contain something particular you want to embrace, words that keep you afloat, like a life vest.

Before I face the woolly world each morning, I’ve been known to "wear" a song along with the Armor of God. After plunking the helmet of salvation on my head and strapping the Word of God into my invisible scabbard, I remind myself of a verse of Scripture that's appropriate for me and my day. And then I put on a song, clinging to lyrics I need to hear.

And I wear these verses and songs throughout the day – that is, I hold tight to them. Clinging to Scripture and God-honoring Christian music (like the “Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” Paul mentions in Ephesians 5:19) help me focus on the Lord, directing my thoughts to those which are more appropriate to a Child of God than the wimpy worries my fearful little noggin tends to favor.

Jeremy CampImage by f_shields via Flickr
For a while, Jeremy Camp’s “Walk by Faith” was one such song.

Four or so years ago, I was already a Jeremy fan. Already had his CDs and knew his songs by heart. I was driving around one afternoon, hauling noisy children hither and yon (which sounds more fun than carpooling to soccer and art), and in the little private cage of my brain, I was stewing. I remember exactly what was bothering me, a problem so small that you’d laugh if I shared it, but even then I was fully aware that a bigger worry worsened my tiny fear. That day, I was fretting over something small because it was easier than admitting I was afraid of something larger: a very big change in my future.

As I was driving, something happened. Now, I am not suggesting that the Lord moved the deejay of my local Christian radio station in order to speak to little ol' me, but as I was driving and worrying, “Walk by Faith” came on over the airwaves. The Holy Spirit rattled the lock on my little cage of fear at the first lines of the song:

Will I believe You when You say
Your hand will guide my every way?
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day?
*

Gulp. I knew what that meant. Could I say that I believed in God, yet not believe Him when He says He’s faithful? Will I trust Him when He says He’ll provide for my needs? Do I honestly accept that He loves me and has spoken Truth in His Word? Because I knew Proverbs 3:5-6 pretty well, but I didn’t seem to be acting like I believed it:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

You may know that when he wrote “Walk by Faith,” Jeremy Camp was on his honeymoon. It was not a carefree vacation, nor a worry-free celebration of a new marriage. Jeremy's young bride, stricken with terminal cancer before their engagement, had weeks to live. Jeremy was angry, wounded, and desperate, grappling with the horror of becoming a widower at age twenty-three. He wrestled with God, begging for help, or answers. Something. Anything.

If you’ve ever read an interview with Jeremy or seen him in concert, you’ll know that the death of his first wife is a major part of his moving testimony. He shares openly about his struggles, grief and questioning. Through this dark time, however, he relied on God to get him through. He came to understand that he needed to trust God, to keep taking steps forward even when he couldn’t see the road ahead through the darkness.
Pisadas - FootstepsImage by Seryo via Flickr

God used Jeremy’s testimony to teach me something essential. The time had come for me to decide if I truly believed in God's promises or if I just pretended to. I needed to step out, even though I didn't know where He was leading me, because God was already at my destination, faithful to meet me exactly where I was.

And so I started wearing “Walk by Faith,” wrapping its lyrics about me like a warm, fur-lined cloak as I stepped out into the cold unknown. I decided that I would cling to God’s promises of faithfulness, love and compassion. I sang:

I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see
Because this broken road prepares Your will for me
.*

It isn’t the song that changes our lives, is it? It’s the One who meets us where we are, and allows something like a song to be used to guide us.

I hope you enjoy this video of Jeremy singing “Walk by Faith” from his DVD/album, Unplugged. Keep your eyes peeled for Adie Camp (Jeremy's talented second wife) singing backup.



Questions: Have you ever “worn” a song?

Meeting Jeremy Camp in person was awesome (read about it
here). Have you ever been able to meet someone whom you admire?

*“Walk by Faith,” music and lyrics by Jeremy Camp. Copyright 2002, BEC Recordings.
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24 comments:

  1. Wow Suzanne! I love Jeremy Camp's songs, especially this one, but did not know the pain it with birthed from! Thanks for sharing that. It makes that song even more powerful.

    Often I wake up with a song in my head. When that happens, it tends to "cloak" me all day long.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Just like you, Suzanne, I love worshipping through music!

    Thank you for sharing a poignant song.

    Patti

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  3. Good morning, D'Ann! I hope you're having a great start to your day. It's still dark here, but my mug of coffee is full and warm. Ahh.

    Once you know Jeremy Camp's story, a lot of his songs take on deeper meaning. "Beyond Measure," and of course, "I Still Believe," which is the first song he wrote after his wife's death, I believe.

    I appreciate his honesty and his willingnes to share his painful testimony for the benefit of others.

    Today the song I'm wearing, though, is "Holy, Holy, Holy," one of my favorite hymns. I need to focus on praising God!

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  4. Hi Patti! Thanks so much. I pray that your day is off to a great start and there's a song of praise in your heart.

    Is it a holiday for you? Our schools are closed for Lincoln's birthday. Which could make this a looong day!

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  5. Oh, Susanne, I just loved reading this. Love Jeremy Camp and his music. I knew that story about his wife, and agree it only makes the words of his song more meaningful.

    You and I are so much alike. Some days (most!) songs of worship and praise are my lifeline, as you will see from my song blog post next week.

    I love the idea of wearing my song. Today my song is Savior Please by Josh Wilson. Every single day last week it was Follow You by Leeland and Brandon Heath. In fact, that song haunted me so much I almost changed my post for next week.

    Have a blessed, song-filled day.

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  6. I especially love songs about sensing God's presence and/or entering into his presence. One of my favorites is actually "All Around Me" by heavy metal band Flyleaf.

    Yesterday at church I was deeply moved by a similar song called "Faintly." It starts out "Faintly you surround me." I loved that gentle reminder that God is all around me just beyond the perception of my five senses.

    That's the song I'll be "wearing" this week.

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  7. Susie, I never knew the story of his first wife. Tales like that remind me how insignificant my problems are in comparison, and also my faith sometimes.

    Great art, in whatever format, is often prompted by great pain. I wonder why that is? Perhaps it is part of the blessing after the storm.

    Thanks for sharing. Great post!

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  8. Dina, Lisa, I know this is the "wrong" Suzie, but I can't help but commenting on your comments before I go to work. Dina, I love the words of the song you just mentioned. I've never heard it before. It's so beautiful. Lisa, I totally agree, I think great art preceeded by great pain IS without a doubt the blessing after the storm. You put it so well! Ladies, have a blessed day!

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  9. I love the concept of wearing a song. Different songs have spoken God's truth over my soul during troubling times in my life. Maybe that happens to us because God hardwired a connection to music in us all. Look at how King David--a man who broke every commandment--poured his heart, his grief, his repentance out in song.

    Funny how this is the season for love songs. Well, I'm drawn to those love songs for my Savior because I want to be passionate in my love for him.

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  10. Oh, I forgot to share a song. One that stops me in my tracks and makes me be still is "God with Us" by Mercy Me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Y-Px39cm4

    Such a tiny offering compared to Calvery; nevertheless we lay it at your feet

    All that in me cries for You alone be glorified

    Emmanuel God with us.

    My heart sings a brand new song, my debt is paid, these chains are gone.

    Emmanuel God with us.

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  11. Our God is so great. I've been blessed by reading everyone's comments, and found myself worshipping the Lord with you all in this unique way. I never would have thought it possible, but I read your comments and the song lyrics, and I paused and prayed and praised. What an unexpected gift this morning.

    One thing I love about "Walk by Faith" is the chorus of Alleluias at the ending. Wholly meaning the words, "I will walk by faith" is not necessarily easy or painless. It certainly wasn't for Jeremy when he wrote the song. But he ends his prayerful song with praise.

    Suzie, "Follow You" is such a beautiful song. I have fallen so short of following God into the homes of the broken. What a strong reminder of how I'm supposed to serve. I'll have to wear it soon!

    Dina, my husband is a Flyleaf fan too. They have really crossed over to the secular market, too. I pray that their lyrics reach others; they've certainly reached out to me.

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  12. Wearing a song is beautiful metaphor. I didn't know Jeremy Camp lost his young wife to cancer. It does seem to be true that brokenness seems to accompany profound songwriting. I'll be writing about Holy God by Brian Doerkson later this week, another man shaped and moulded by life.

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  13. Lisa, what an incredible insight. Beauty from ashes, glory from pain. God has certainly used Jeremy Camp's tragedy to teach me a lot about praise, death, and restoration.

    Gina, thanks for the youtube link! Mercy Me is a great band and that song is, IMHO, one of their best. Or perhaps I should say, one of my favorites. It's so focused, so powerful.

    I love what you said about David, and also God hardwirirng a connection to music in us. One day we were listening to something and my husband said, "Isn't it cool that this piece gives us chills? That God made us to respond this way to something so beautiful?" And that we can praise God, come to Him, and encourage others through music?

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  14. Wenda, I can't wait to read your post and learn about Brian Doerkson.

    Jeremy Camp's firt wife was only twenty-one when she went home to the Lord, but what a woman of faith she must have been. His stories of her (and his continued relationship with her godly family)are inspiring and encouraging.

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  15. Ah Susie, you've blessed me this morning with your words and song. I don't listen to music much as I'm usually in my 'own little world' and the family uses their MP3's so they don't bother me. But from now on, I'll keep an ear out for Jeremy as I really like the way he worships with his music.

    Thank you.

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  16. I pray this theme of music blesses our readers as much as it does us. I'm so looking forward to more posts on how God uses songs to minister to us. I can't think of any songs now, other than this one!

    I think the holy spirit in us brings up those songs for our good and maybe, just maybe as a connection to the heavenly realm He left behind to be in us as comforter and teacher. A reminder of the unstopping worship that surrounds Father, Son and Holy Spirit there.

    "This is the air I breathe - your holy spirit, living in me. And I... I'm lost without you... I'm desperate for you....'

    We sang this yesterday over and over, the music soars and our hearts with it. I didn't want it to end. What a blessing!

    I didn't know the story behind this Jeremy Camp song--it's beautiful enough to touch lives on its own.
    I'm so glad God gives us that audio link to His heaven by putting a song in our heart to carry with us each day. Thanks Susie!

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  17. Susie, very inspiring post :-) I hadn't heard of Jeremy Camp and I loved the utube clip. Songs are a wonderful way to meditate and learn Bible verses - my Bible Study group have been known to 'break out in song' whilst reading the Bible.

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  18. Susie, thank you for sharing about Jeremy - his story has been a blessing and inspiration to thousands, myself included. I've come to believe that we don't really see what our faith is made of until we find ourselves in a place where its all we have. That's where Jeremy's faith touches lives: he still believes!

    I love the power of music in the life of faith. St. Augustine said that those who sing pray twice - once with their head and once with their heart. Music has that power to lingers in our hearts and comes sweetly to mind even when we aren't paying attention. What a precious gift from God.

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  19. Hey everybody! Anita, I'm so glad this blessed you. I like how he worships through his music, too. His concerts are wonderful for me in that way. I also feel like the Newsboys and Mercy Me concerts were Holy Ghost-inspired. I know there are more out there, but this is my limited experience.

    Deb, I love that song! Now it's in my head, and I'm lucky. That's a good one to wear all day. I, too, am looking forward to reading everyone's posts.

    Narelle, I'm glad you enjoyed the clip. Your Bible study group sounds wonderful. Is it all women, or a couples group, or..? A solid, supportive small group is a true treasure.

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  20. Love the idea of "wearing a song". Some songs wrap around me, and when I allow myself to indulge-shutting out the world for a few moments--God always meets me there.

    Some really good books are that way too. The ones that point, directly or indirectly, as the Cross, and transcend the words on the page.

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  21. Susie, it's a ladies Bible study group. We've been meeting for a few years now and I treasure my friendships within the group :-)

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  22. Patricia, you're right about certain books doing that too, pointing to the cross and lifting us into God's presence. I'm going to make more of an effort to read those books! Thanks for coming by today.

    Narelle, that's awesome. I thank God for your precious group.

    Karl, I love that quote from Augustine. Those who sing pray twice, once with their head and once with their heart. Thanks for reminding me, and thanks for popping into the Inkwell today. See ya soon.

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  23. I love Jeremy Camp. I knew about his story. How painful a road he has traveled. It does speak to me volumes. Thank you for sharing this video, I enjoyed seeing his new wife perform with him.

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  24. Thanks for coming by, T. Anne! I'm glad you enjoyed the video and seeing Adie. She has an album of her own, with a new one coming out. Together they have two daughters. Jeremy's life is truly a testimony to God's restoration, power, and healing.

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