DiM | “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

July 27, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family, which currently sits at #17 on 20theCountdownMagazine.

You may know Hillary Scott as a country singer in the band Lady Antebellum. It’s a good band, as secular country music bands go, but not one that proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have absolutely no problem with being in a band as your vocation. None whatsoever. I don’t even have a problem with being in a secular band as your vocation. I have no problem with listening to secular music. None whatsoever. But a song doesn’t become a Christian song simply because the artist says it is, or the artist claims to be a Christian. A song is a Christian song when its lyric proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hillary Scott is a gifted singer. The song doesn’t stand on its own… and I worry about the theology driving the songwriters. It’s a song begging for the Gospel to be preached to the singer. I pray we learn to preach the Gospel to those asking these questions.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

Verse 1
I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here

I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I got is hurt and these four words

Chorus
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

Verse 2
I know you’re good
But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about

It’s hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So

Chorus
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

Bridge
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store

I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

Like a child on my knees
All that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Publishing: © 2016 W.B.M. Music Corp. / EKT Publishing, admin. by W.B.M. Music Corp. (SESAC); WB Music Corp. / Thankful For This Music, admin. by WB Music Corp. (ASCAP); Songs of Universal, Inc. / G650 Music/Pure Note Music, admin. by Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI).
Writer(s): Hillary Scott, Emily Weisband and Bernie Herms

Discussion

Overall, the song is begging for theodicy, an answer for the question “if God is good, then why is there so much evil in the world?”. It is an honest lyric in that the singer is asking questions we all ask from time to time. However, within these honest questions there is also evidence of bad theology. So, the honesty of the questions does not make them good questions by default.

As for the target audience and purpose for the song, I believe it is intended to be a song of prayer. It focuses on 4 words from the Lord’s Prayer, two of which form the song title, and the object of the “you” and “thy” in this song I’m assuming to be the God of the Bible.

Verse 1. A confession of being confused is a good thing, but in common vernacular here in the U.S., it can also be a loaded turn of phrase indicating that the source of confusion is mixed messaging from the messenger, or even hypocritical double-speak. So let’s continue in the lyric. I know I heard you loud and clear So, I followed through Somehow I ended up here… and there it is. I did what you asked me to do, and now I’m here. This is an accusation. Now this doesn’t mean she’s putting God on trial just yet, we see in the book of Job that he hadn’t done anything to “deserve” his trial (though we dare not suggest he was sinless, because he wasn’t). But noticed the claim to having heard God (I’m assuming) “loud and clear”. I don’t know where she goes to church, but with so many big-box churches catering to celebrities and spewing vision-casting leadership driven bad theology, she could be referring to “life tip” sermons filled with man-made law as the source of her hearing from God, or she could be referring to direct revelations she had while practicing the sort of channeling or divination presented in “Jesus Calling” (available at and heavily marketed by your local “christian” bookstore). What we don’t see is her questioning God based on the Written Word of God.

So, the first part of the first verse at least presents the questions:
I’ve done everything You told me to do, God, now why am I here?
I did everything I knew to be right, why am I being punished?
I did everything your church told me to do, so why is none of it working?

The second part presumes an answer based on limited knowledge of Scripture and then extrapolates that assumption into a solution that resembles faith, or at least how faith is generally described in modern evangelicalism. The limited knowledge of Scripture is the idea that God is sovereign over all things. While that is true about God, it doesn’t guide us in the Law nor does it explicitly point to the Gospel, it simply asserts that God is over all things. That’s what I mean by limited knowledge of Scripture, it is Truth that God is Sovereign, but that truth alone does not give us much to go on. The singer then takes that nugget of truth and assumes that since God is sovereign, then clearly she is suffering because God wants her to. I may never understand That my broken heart is a part of your plan is vague enough to be corrected theologically, but it can also run contrary to the full character of God revealed in Scripture. It ignores the problem of sin, the true source of death and heartache in this temporal life.

At the end of this verse, we are still left with a very real question that most in the visible church are asking and even praying. The presumed answer of “God must have a reason for me to be going through this… I hope I can hold on long enough to see what it was” isn’t so much faith as it is positive self-talk. It’s self-focused, and doesn’t point to Christ who is the author and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

I’d like to address this question more fully scripturally, but let’s get through the rest of this song first.

Chorus. So the chorus of the song is simply “Thy Will be Done” repeated over and over again. “Do what You want to do, LORD.” While it is indeed part of how we were taught to pray, why not pray the rest of the prayer (Matthew 6; Luke 11)? We’ll get back to this point in a bit, but I want to do so after the second verse.

Verse 2. Yes, God is good. This is an attempt to affirm or confess the goodness of God. Very difficult to do from an emotional place when you’re in despair. That is why it is so important to me to point out that Faith is not an emotion. Our emotions are fleshly, Faith is not part of our flesh. Notice the “but”… it doesn’t feel good all of the time, not even for Christians. In fact, the life of a Christian very rarely “feels” good, because the world hates us. It hates us because it first hated God. It doesn’t feel good because the wages of sin is death, and as long as we live in this temporal flesh, we will have to struggle with sin. Struggle doesn’t feel good. Feelings are a terrible way to find God or search for Him or to try to muster up faith in Him.

Now, to this point the song has been theologically poking at Romans 8, so we’ll look at that in a minute. In the next section, however, I think it starts poking at a passage in James.

James 1:2-4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

We find in this second verse a similar thread that we found in the first verse, a bit of an accusation that on some level God isn’t or doesn’t seem to be keeping His promises to the singer, and then she backs out of that thought with a “I’m not God, You Are”… it’s a pious statement, again, treating faith as a sort of blind trust in a Supreme being that I want to know and think I know but I don’t know and am confused by what seems to be double-talk, or even a failure to keep promises.

What promises? The song doesn’t say. The local “christian” bookstores are filled with so-called promises of God that are out there and simply need to be claimed, or earned, or declared. Most of these books are filled with false-promises, blasphemous lies spoken/written from the imaginations of men. God’s promises are True and Amen. We find them in His Written Word, the Scriptures.

Bridge. The endless repeat of the chorus and the bridge ends the song in much the same way it began. I’m doing my part, Lord, I know you see me and hear me but all I’m getting is ‘Thy will be done’. She’s still asking for an answer. What has she done wrong? What should she be doing? Why won’t You answer her? What is she missing?

Conclusion

Well, she’s missing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m not saying she “isn’t saved”, I’m saying she’s spending so much time looking to circumstances and seeking direct revelation about them, she is missing the Promises of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She is also missing the Law, or has been filled with man-made laws presented as some quid-pro-quo arrangement for blessings and prosperity. She doesn’t seem to understand the role of sin and death in this temporal life with its heartaches and struggles. You know, the early Church struggled with heavy persecution, imprisonment, torture, and death. I can think of no more relevant source for encouragement than the Epistles of the New Testament, written in a time and under persecution most of us may never witness or understand.

James 1:2-18 (ESV)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Romans 8:18-30 (ESV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

1 Peter 1:1-13 (ESV)

Greeting
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

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.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

These Church fathers endured tough times, hard persecution, and the LORD blessed them, not in temporal comforts, but in eternal Hope, Faith in Jesus Christ and in the Resurrection. Christ grew His Church through the preaching of His Word. These are the answers to the questions of this song. Christ is the answer, for all of eternity.

Pray to God, make petitions to Our Father in Heaven, a bold proclamation made possible only through the death and resurrection of God the Son, Jesus Christ. Seek His Will by reading His Word. The answers are there. The Holy Spirit speaks through the Written Word, pointing us to Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Don’t look for God in your circumstances, look for Him in His Word.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

 

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