“Where Were You?” Trying out a new Song
I was sitting listening to Matt Maher talk about a very important subject one day:
Why do we tend to write songs for worship that are fluffy little “God is good and great” songs?
Okay – so I don’t remember the exact words that he said…but you get the general idea. The point is that the world can sting and hurt to a lot of folks right now – and if they walk into a church hearing songs like “How Great Is Our God” and think….”God isn’t too great if He let this happen to me.”
Now, digress for the moment from your thoughts about instantly wanting to explain why He is still great. Let’s be honest – it is a hard pill for someone not walking close to understand those things. They see…let’s be honest….what you yourself have probably seen before – a lot of questions and a lot of anger pent up against a God who is supposed to be “oh-so-loving.” The point is this: It is possible and very much okay to write a song that asks questions of God, explains your hurt, or – perhaps – voices frustration.
So I did.
After our discussion, I showed Matt a rough copy of a quickly jotted down chorus. That chorus became “Where Were You?”
Would you be so kind as to take a listen to the rough demo and leave me a comment with your brutal and honest thoughts? Don’t criticize the music – yes, I use a conga for a click track. Don’t criticize my voice. I don’t criticize you when you sing in the shower. Think of the words and the meaning behind the words. What sticks out? What stands out? What made you think? What’s the one line that you seem to remember? Anything NOT true there? I’m an open book right now. Write my pages. It’s not often that a songwriter or artists asks the public for an upfront and honest critique of their song.
(copyright © 2009 Jason Whitehorn)
Where Were You
(words and music by Jason Whitehorn)
You’ve seen my cheeks stained with tears
you’ve seen my anger lashed out.
The questions that I’ve been searching for
the answers I am without.
You’ve seen me question Your Will
knowing I didn’t make the plans
and though I’ve kept You at a distance
I was still in your hands.
Where were you
when my hope was gone?
Where were you?
Why’d you leave me all alone?
He was at a grave, in a tear,
by a hospital bed
When you lost your job He cried, too
in tears formed of red.
When your world came crashing down
and you were suffering a loss.
God was at the Cross
You’ve seen me searching for reasons
to questions that I can’t even say.
Like ‘why’d the woman with cancer
have to die today?’
Was it Your time to have her go
or my will to make her stay?
and to understand the price that was paid
for her to be in Heav’n today.
He was by her side ‘til the end
then He walked her through the gate
When your baby died – He was there
and He held your hearts in place.
Our pain alone does not compare
to the burden that He bought
God was at the Cross.
All these unanswered questions
all the tings better left unsaid
and still you understand that
life comes from death.