Saturday, July 28, 2012

Never Once – Matt Redman, Jason Ingram, Tim Wanstall

Matt Redman was at a point where events made him reflect. He had two friends, Jason Ingram and Tim Wanstall, with whom he must have been sharing and identifying later. It was a ‘nutshell’ moment, as he recalled picking up his guitar and letting his memories pour out in a rather lonesome place, a big empty spot, both emotionally and physically. Some of us might have run to a different situation, hurrying to escape the sense of isolation. But that’s where Redman paused. He knew he was in fact not alone, and that “Never Once” had God let him down.

Matt Redman tells the story in his own words (see link below), so you the reader don’t need me to reveal it to you. Redman is very open, saying it was a time when he and his family were returning to England after living in Atlanta, Georgia for some time. It was the summer of 2010, and the departure was culminating. If you’ve ever moved, leaving friends and an uplifting experience, then you’ve felt the way the Redmans must have that day. They probably had a “For Sale” sign (see the picture) displayed, or something else posted on the property to let others know they were leaving, vacating the premises. They were just a little sad, he hints, to say ‘so long’, with the emptiness of their house magnifying the moment for Matt. He still had his guitar, so he began to reminisce, giving birth to the song that his friends Jason and Tim must have helped him crystallize later on. Redman says in that moment he appreciated that God was faithful to him even as a child of seven years old, decades earlier. God had not ‘vacated the premises’. His faithfulness is one divine characteristic that Redman says he tends to reflect on in his music-making most. Perhaps that’s because it feels so personal for him. He doesn’t provide details, but Redman admits his childhood might be described as difficult.  His words describe ups and downs, not unlike what all of us experience, times in which he hopes believers don’t discard God because of confusion or ‘clouds over you’.   There’s a ‘thread of God’s faithfulness’ that Redman has identified, and he hopes that it’s ‘burning deep inside’ the believer.  

Remember and trust. That’s all Redman and his friends ask of those who sing “Never Once”. If you’re still struggling, Redman doesn’t seem to think that discredits his song’s message. It might be a ‘battleground’ with ‘scars and struggles’, but don’t think He’s abandoned you. Jesus must have felt it too, in the garden and several hours later, suspended between here and there. Most of my ‘desert’ moments don’t come close to the gravity of Jesus’ wasteland experience. If He can endure the desertion, can’t I? Call out to Him, and you’ll get on the other side of that moment…that’s how Jesus’ life tells me to manage my anxiety at those times. Eventually, that’s where paradise awaits…     

See video here for Redman’s own story about the song’s development:

Some biographic information on composer:

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