Pressing on and giving thanks: a soundtrack

Songs about perseverance and giving thanks have been important to me over the last few months. I'm interested in the former topic because I have been concentrating on my health and fitness over the last year, and have lost 65 pounds. Songs about perseverance motivate me to keep going, even when I don't feel like making healthy eating choices or going to the gym.

Songs about giving thanks have been important to me because of the results I've seen. Also, this past December, doctors discovered a tumor in my father's brain. It turned out to be benign, and they successfully removed it in January, so my family and I are thankful for my father's good fortune during this time. God answered our prayers.

This month, I thought I would share with you four songs that have been especially meaningful for me lately.

"Rose Garden"

Shad
TSOL
Black Box Recordings, 2010

"I beg your pardon, I didn't promise you a rose garden," a woman sings in the chorus to this upbeat song from Canadian hip-hop artist Shad. "Along with the sunshine, there's gonna be some rain sometimes." Over a bouncy drumbeat with a snare sound that really pops, Shad reminds listeners that God promises to be with his followers even when life is difficult. As he raps in the first verse, "Heard a voice say hey / You never question when you get the blessings / So don't get vexed when your life is stressed / And I promised I'll be with you no matter what the issue / But there will be some issues to address." Watch Shad perform the song by visiting www.tinyurl.com/ShadRoseGarden.

"Relief"

Sam Amidon
I See the Sign
Bedroom Community, 2010

Without a hint of irony, folk artist Sam Amidon takes an upbeat song by R&B singer R. Kelly and turns it into a transformational ballad that attests to the goodness of God. "The storm is over / And I'm so glad the sun is shining," Amidon sings over a gently-plucked acoustic guitar and banjo. "We fasted and prayed / And it feels good to know that He answered." Then the strings kick in and you can't help but feel uplifted as Amidon sings the chorus: "What a relief to know that we are one / What a relief to know that the war is over / What a relief to know that there's an angel in the sky / What a relief to know that love is still alive." Even during times of trial, this song is a great comfort to me. Download it for free from Stereogum.com by visiting www.tinyurl.com/SamAmidonRelief.

"Thankful Heart"

Michael Caine and The Muppets
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Walt Disney Records, 1992

Every year at Christmas, I watch the Muppets' adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novella A Christmas Carol. "Thankful Heart" is the song Scrooge, played by legendary British actor Michael Caine, sings after he wakes up on Christmas morning with love and joy in his heart. "With a thankful heart / With an endless joy / With a growing family / Every girl and boy / Will be nephew and niece to me / Will bring love, hope and peace to me / Yes and every night will end / And every day will start / With a grateful prayer / And a thankful heart." This song is a good reminder at Christmas or any other time of year that loving one's neighbours and giving thanks to God for the many blessings in life are what truly matter. Hear the song at www.tinyurl.com/MuppetsThankfulHeart.

"In Due Time"

Killswitch Engage
Disarm the Descent
Roadrunner Records, 2013

Metalcore heavyweights Killswitch Engage return with a new album in April called Disarm the Descent. Lead singer Jesse Leach's faith is evident in the first single, "In Due Time," which the band released at the beginning of February. Over crushing metal riffs, Leach sings lyrics that borrow from Psalm 121 and also give subtle nods to passages in Romans. "What victory when my soul is weak? / Where does my help come from?" Leach asks, before ending with a verse that says, "All that we suffer through leads to determination / The trials we all go through give us the strength to carry on / Something within us burns, desire feeds the will to live / A reason to believe I will see redemption." Hear the song by visiting www.tinyurl.com/KseInDueTime.

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About the author


Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.