SONG #7 OF 50: “THE WAY / THE TRUTH / THE LIFE”

SONG #7 OF 50: “THE WAY / THE TRUTH / THE LIFE”

To believe anything with certainty we must begin by doubting.”

                                   -Stainslaw Leszczynski

Writing a “worship” song about doubt seems sort of counterintuitive. But I’ve always resonated with people like “Doubting” Thomas in the Gospels. Thomas was always asking good questions. He really loved Jesus, but his skepticism always nagged at him. At one point, Thomas is trying to keep up with Jesus’ theological treatise and just gets exasperated. We don’t understand, Thomas says. And Jesus comforts them with one of the most beautiful things ever recorded:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

Doubt isn’t a handicap in the Christian faith. It’s a rite of passage. Doubt is the means through which every Christian learns to really trust Jesus. By asking good questions and sincerely seeking to know the truth, we’ll find it. Or rather, we’ll find Him. I don’t think Jesus expects us to understand every possible nuance of theology. His disciples couldn’t even do that. And so “faith” seems less about retaining information, and more about trusting within the context of relationship.

I’ve taken a lot of comfort in a quote I once read from Rosemary Clement-Moore: “Faith isn’t the absence of doubt. It’s belief without proof, not without question.”

In those moments of doubt, the moments of questions without answers when we feel trapped in a downward spiral of unknowing…let us trust like children in those beautiful words:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

Lyrics.

When I’m empty and weak / And I don’t have the strength to stand / And despair cripples me / And the shadows consume my plans / Show me the way / Show me the truth / Show me the life, Jesus

When temptation surrounds / And I can’t figure out Your ways / And I’m buried in doubt / And I’m losing my grip on faith / Show me the way / Show me the truth / Show me the life, Jesus

I have no other rock upon which I can stand / You are my hope, You are my hope / Without you I confess I have no other plan / Where would I go? Where would I go?

When the grave comes for me / And I have no ambitions left / And I’ve said my goodbyes / I will breathe with my final breath / You are the way / You are the truth / You are the life, Jesus

Credits.

Co-written with Rick Piatek & my wife Melissa. Specifically, Rick suggested the descending bassline at the very end of the song, which I thought was a nice touch. Melissa finished the final verse. My buddy Jonny Gerber also helped edit and guide the song along the way.

How I wrote it.

One morning the phrase “I don’t have the strength to stand” kept coming to mind. So I began with that, and the melodies unfolded really quickly. Melodically, the song was “finished” inside an hour. But the lyrics seemed to take forever. I had to slug this one out with the verses, and finally turned the final verse over to Melissa to finish.

Interesting fact.

I often change my surrounding to stimulate creativity. For this song, I visited the massive cemetery near my house, hoping to grapple a bit with the idea of mortality in the lyrics.

(On a similar note: I actually love writing in cemeteries. It’s always super quiet and tranquil and there aren’t many distractions.)

Every week I post a new worship song with intentions of helping others navigate a life with Jesus, giving words and music to some of our prayers. Subscribe to the blog and get a song each week in your inbox. >>>

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