I love Chris Tomlin’s music.
But this song worried me. Not because it wasn’t beautiful, because it is. Not because musically it wasn’t well done, because it was. Not because Tomlin has lost a step, because if anything he is as good now as he has ever been. It’s the ambiguous message of the song that bothers me.
I believe in this amazing place waiting for us when we leave this Earth. But I think songs like this are less about the hope we have than about the promise of something better. I don’t think Heaven is supposed to be the reward at the end of the journey, but a part of the journey we are on with God. I don’t think we’re supposed to sit on this Earth and pine away for the something better. We’re supposed to be doing something. You were created for a purpose. You were given a gift. All of us have within us the capacity to draw closer to God and to help others draw closer, too. Our gifts are judged by the world as being great and small, but I believe that God values them all the same.
It’s what you do with your gift while you are here on this Earth that matters the most.
What will you do with your gift?
Songs like this appeal to us because they offer a shining alternative to all that is happening on Earth. There are some pretty awful things that happen down here. We are sometimes really awful to each other. And a song like this appeals to us because it offers hope for something better than this world we live in. But that’s escapist philosophy. “Don’t worry because there’s something better after you die.”
My other worry about this song is not just that it encourages us to wait and do nothing – but that it encourages us to leave this place before we’re done. Someone suffering from depression would hear this song in a really different way. Why not go to this other place now? Why wait? There’s nothing in the theology of this song that helps people to understand that Heaven is a hope, but that we are useful, wanted, and loved on this Earth right now. Right now!
Do I like this song? Yep. But I think I would have loved it had it given us hope NOW instead of only after we die.