God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease, smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see, but God likes to go off-road.  He provokes us with twists and turns.  He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance; and comprehension and yet don’t.  By His love and grace, we persevere.  The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

- Tony Snow (courtesy of Lewis Winkler)

Last week I joined the ranks of those unemployed during the current recession. Though grateful for a generous severance, I find myself in an unexpected place. Recent years have brought unexpected levels of pain and hardship, yet they have also deepened my faith, enhanced my friendships, and overhauled my character. The process has also allowed me to truly “mourn with those who mourn” as I empathize with those in the midst of life’s storms.

Thanks for all of the prayers and support. I’m very excited about our future!

Beauty Will Rise

Years ago I wrote album reviews for a magazine. Being a musician, my concern largely focused on musical composition and production with token acknowledgement of lyrical content.

Last week I listened to Steven Curtis Chapman’s latest album,
Beauty Will Rise, in its entirety. Chapman has been recording and touring for years, yet this release is unique in his discography. More than a mere collection of songs, this is a musical journal of laments, emotions, tears, and hope stemming from the tragic death of his adopted daughter. Listening to these songs days following the end of 2009—the most difficult year of my life—was encouraging and comforting like few things have ever been.

You can read a formal review
here and an interview here. Suffice it to say that if you have ever experienced trials, pain, loss, suffering, or doubt (that’s you, isn’t it?) you are sure to find a deep connection to the lyrics of these songs. I am grateful for Chapman’s transparency and honesty. I need this album. I’m guessing you do, too. Thanks, Steven.