DiM | “Eye of the Storm (ft GabeReal)” by Ryan Stevenson

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

May 17, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Eye of the Storm (feat. GabeReal of DiverseCity)” by Ryan Stevenson which currently sits at #13 on the20theCountdownMagazine.

Stylistically, I like the song. The vocals are solid and have a nice grit to them that give the song an impactful feeling of honestly. You believe the singers are singing something real, at least in what they’ve felt and what they are holding onto. Theologically, the song falls a bit flat in that it remains within the theology of glory rather than the theology of the cross. We’ll get into that a bit later, but for now this song treats faith and the Promises of God as something to be invoked when things are going well for us… particularly when our dreams and visions aren’t coming true. Well, that’s a bit shallow compared to the richness of God’s Promise of Salvation in the Gospel of the Cross. So lets give it a listen and then look at the lyrics.

Official Audio (Album Version)

Official Lyric Video (Radio Version)

Album Version Lyrics (via GannsDeen)
Radio Version Lyrics (pulled from Video)

EYE OF THE STORM Lyrics
Ryan Stevenson featuring GabeReal of DiverseCity

Prologue (Album Only)
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

Verse 1 (Album Version)
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been sold out by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me

Verse 1 (Radio Version)
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I’m feelin’ like I’ve been let down by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me

Chorus (both versions)
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

Verse 2 (both versions)
Mmm, when my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I’m runnin’ out of faith
I see the future I picture slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

Chorus (both versions)
In the eye of the storm (Yeah, yeah)
You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (Your love surrounds me)
In the eye of the storm (in the eye of the storm)

Verse 3 (Album Version)
When the test comes in and the doctor says I’ve only got a few months left
It’s like a bitter pill I’m swallowing; I can barely take a breath
And when addiction steals my baby girl, and there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You, Lord

Verse 3 (Radio Version)
When they let me go and I just don’t know how I”m gonna make ends meet
I did my best, now I’m scared to death that we might lose everything
And when a sickness takes my child away and there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You, Lord

In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah)
You remain in control
In the middle of the war (middle of the war)
You guard my soul (yeah!)
You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (yeah!)
In the eye of the storm

You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war (in the middle of the war)
You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
Oooh

Radio Version Ends Here. 

Album Version extended ending
Oh, in the eye of
Oh, in the eye of the storm
I know You’re watching me, yeah, ay

When the storm is raging (When the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (And my hope is gone, Lord)
When my flesh is failing, You’re still holding on, oh whoa
When the storm is raging (the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and all my hope is gone)
When my flesh is failing (my flesh is failing), You’re still holding on, oooh
When the storm is raging (when the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and my hope is gone)
Even when my flesh is failing (flesh is failing), You’re still holding on, holding on

The Lord is my Shepherd
I have all that I need
He lets me rest in green meadows
He leads me beside peaceful streams
He renews my strength
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid
For You are close beside me

 

Discussion

As I’ve already noted, I generally like this song. It is definitely something I can sing along with to help fight away thoughts of despair and frustration. It is motivational and encouraging, at least on the surface, provided I don’t rely solely upon the thought fragments found in the song and turn to the source and builder of my faith, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Whose very words are found in Scripture. In so much that this song might point me to Scripture, it does well… but it falls short of completing the thought.

Target Audience. While the person being addressed in the lyric of the song, the “you” of the song is intended to be God, the target audience isn’t… the target audience is the hurting, struggling, or disappointed Christian. The goal is to motivate a fellow believer to not give up, and to trust that God is taking care of them no matter what. For the most part, this is a good thing. But, as with nearly all of CCM, there is no accounting for the Law and it is an attempt to preach Gospel apart from it. While many feel like preaching Law to someone who is hurting is just mean, if you skip over the Law you leave no room for proper discussion of repentance or justice. God’s promises of forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, and redemption then become hallow and our sinful flesh jumps at the chance to re-define those terms based on our own emotions, dreams, and desires (theology of glory) rather than on the Law of God which exposes our sinfulness and the Gospel of Jesus Christ who bore the full brunt of the punishment we deserve on the cross (theology of the Cross). A penitent (repentant) believer who is broken down and acknowledge his/her sin doesn’t need more Law preaching at that point, he/she needs to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and know that his/her sins have been forgiven in Jesus’ Name.

The Sovereignty of God. The encouragement found in this song comes in the reminder that no matter the circumstance we find ourselves in, God is in control. Full control. That should be of supreme comfort to those of the household of faith. This comfort is an eternal one. Where the enemy creeps in to shake our faith is in getting us to define this comfort in temporal terms, and our sinful flesh is more-than-willing to support this measure. When Jesus tells us not to be anxious, faith says, “Amen!”… but our flesh jumps in and says, “but I’m hungry, and thirsty, and tired… how can I not be anxious”. God is sovereign… not our flesh.

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV) | Do Not Be Anxious

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Amen. Has God promised we will always come out of every earthly struggle as temporal winners or ahead? No. His Promise is much bigger than that… for life is more than food and the body more than clothing.

That’s why the second verse is slightly off-mission. God is in charge, not us… not our hopes and dreams… not the future WE have pictured for us.Sufficient for the day is its own trouble, said Jesus. The notion of running out of faith comes from a poor (yet prevalent) understanding of what Faith is. Popular evangelicalism uses the word “faith” often but usually where “zeal” should have been used. Zeal is a measure of emotional impetus… that isn’t what Faith is. Reading through the book of Hebrews and Romans will give the best understanding of what Biblical, Saving Faith, really is. It’s not something we are born with (we are born dead in sins and unrighteosness… faithless) Faith is something God gives us through His Word (Romans 10:17). So then, in the context of this song, we all run out of zeal… we grow weary and tired. When we approach church and Sunday morning services as a charge up my zeal station, we get a lot of hype, maybe loud music, smoke machines, light shows, and 3 basic principles to being a super-influential fully devoted follower of christ… but none of that has substance… it always fails, because it’s all based on the opinions, ideas, visions, and dreams of men. None of that builds faith… though, for a short time it can truly build up a great deal of zeal to “do good works” and “give sacrificially”.

The gathering of the saints isn’t solely to stir up emotional zeal or to take a break from everyday life, we come together to hear the Word of God preached, both Law and Gospel, we come to repent of sin and to be forgiven, and to know that we have already been forgiven in Jesus’ Name.

Hebrews 10:12-25 (ESV)

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

So, I’m not dismissing the notion of stirring up one another to love and good works (zeal), but it comes AFTER the more important issue of drawing near with faith to repent and be forgiven, sprinkled clean and washed with pure water (remembering our baptism in the Name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).

There is rest and comfort available at the cross for all who are weary and heavy-laden. We grow weary in this life because we are still walking cursed flesh, though we have a Promise of New Life in the Resurrection on the Last Day.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

The third verse of this song is gut-wrenching. And in those times we know that this life is temporary and fading away, and we find our strength and peace in the Eternal Promise of our Lord Jesus Christ. For it is not by our strength, or zeal, or determination, but by the Power of God that we are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

I have mixed feelings regarding the closing portion of the Albuv version of the song. It is a summary or paraphrase of Psalm 23… and it seems like they were paraphrasing the New Living Translation. I’m grateful they didn’t give a citation since they weren’t really reading the text. My major problem with these sort of things is that modern-day evangelicals are so painfully Biblically illiterate that I doubt many would even recognize it wasn’t the actual Psalm being read. Let’s look at in the NLT and then the ESV.

Psalm 23 (NLT) | A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever.

Psalm 23 (ESV) | The Lord Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

Did the artist mangle the Psalm? No, but memorizing the song (as we tend to do automatically) will not truly lead to memorizing the Psalm… but those who know the song will think of the song when Psalm 23 is read, and our music/art should point to Scripture, not the other way around. That’s my concern, anyway. I’m grateful it didn’t make it into the Radio Version of the song, though some radio stations might play the extended (Album) version from time to time.

Conclusion

I like the song and feel it serves a purpose, particularly in these days where so many Christians are being run ragged by modern-evangelical zeal-machines posing as Churches, preaching law-heavy, theology of glory doctrines without ever rightly dividing Law and Gospel. The song doesn’t make our “Approved” list, because it doesn’t actually convey the Gospel, nor does it stand fully on its own. I still like the song, personally, and I think even with all of the muddled doctrine dominating the CCM airwaves, this song at least can point the listener to a Sovereign God.

Romans 16:24-27(ESV) | Doxology

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Amen, Indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

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