About a year and a half ago, a family in our church shared some gut wrenching news. Laneia Thomas, along with her husband Jon, told us that she had just received a pretty serious cancer diagnosis.
We were all sitting together in a prayer meeting, so we did the logical thing. We prayed. But it didn’t end there. For the last couple years we’ve been praying for Laneia’s complete healing. We’ve prayed together in prayer meetings. We’ve prayed in homes. We’ve prayed in private. We’ve prayed in church.
And you get to a point where you’ve been asking God for the same thing over and over in desperation, and you just don’t care if it feels like begging. You ask, like a little kid who keeps asking their parent over and over for something. Even if you don’t understand exactly how God’s healing works, you quit trying to understand it and keep asking Him for healing over and over and over.
Throughout their journey, the faith of the Thomas family has influenced our church beyond what they even realize. They’ve been the most tangible example of what faith-in-crisis looks like. Sure, they’ve voiced plenty of doubts and fears and anxieties. But amidst the tears, Laneia keeps saying things like, “I just want everyone to know that God is good. No matter what happens to me, God is good.” Hearing our sister who is suffering through cancer praise God is inspiring. Singing things like “blessed be the name of the Lord” and looking out to see Laneia shouting with her arms outstretched is sobering and faith-building.
Laneia’s trust and love for God trumps her fear of sickness and death. Andy every Christian would like to think they’d praise God even if they were stuck with tragedy. But it’s another thing to have to actually do it. In the end, we’re all beggars within God’s economy. It’s just that some situations force us to realize that more than others.
I believe songs are like alters, they’re special ways to remember important things. Here’s to remembering the faith of the Thomas family, who have reflected the glory of God even amidst the darkness of cancer.
Please join me in praying for the continued healing of Laneia for the glory of God.
You have heard us as we pray / You have answered us in unexpected ways / You have been with us always / But we need Your healing presence here today
Like a beggar with an empty hand hungry for food / Like a pilgrim in a distant land searching for truth / Like a traveller in the desert we are thirsty for You / Thirsty for You
We have journeyed on in faith / We have heard Your winsome voice among the waves / We’ve been desperate for Your grace / Lord, to be within Your presence is to change
Jesus we believe, but help our unbelief / Come redeem this story / That we may become like mirrors to the sun / And reflect Your glory
Co-written with my wife, Melissa Morrow.
How we wrote it.
One day I was reading Psalm 63 and free-writing some potential lyrics. The Thomas’ had been on my mind a lot, and I thought, “Maybe I could write a worship song for the Thomas’?” The first verse and the melody for the chorus came really quickly, but other than the “traveller in the desert” line I was stuck.
A few minutes later my wife came home, so I shared my idea with her and asked for her help. Pretty quickly she came up with “like a pilgrim” line, and together we finished out the rest of the song. She also suggested using the “mirrors reflecting God’s glory” metaphor from 2 Corinthians, which became one of my favorite lines to sing.
Jackson Browne, Tallest Man on Earth, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan.
The night before I wrote this song, I’d been listening to Jackson Browne, and shortly after I recorded a voice memo of the opening verse melody. The next morning the rest of the song rolled out pretty quickly. Sometimes extensive listening of one artist can inspire new songs for me.
2 Corinthians 3:18, Psalm 63, Mark 9:14-29.
The day before I wrote this song with my wife, I’d starting writing a completely different song based on Psalm 63. I wound up scrapping the entire first song, and the “traveller in the desert…thirsty for you” idea was the only thing that survived.
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