Praise You in This Storm

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

The song Praise you in the Storm by Casting Crowns is similar to other songs we have already analyzed like Mountain of God and Hold Fast in the sense that Praise You in the Storm is also about pain in the midst of trials, but the song is also unique in its own right.  When Miller writes Hold Fast he sees in it an eschatological hope that God will rescue us, and Powell reminds us that a mountain will come after the valleys in life.  Rather than dipping into eschatology, Mark Hall writes Praise you in the Storm he “I was sure by now God would have reached and wiped our tears away.”  Hall taps into a rich tradition of theologians who realize the way the world is and the way God is do not seem to mix.

Hall is tapping in most deeply, as do others in songs like Blessed Be Your Name, the idea that, like Job, we are going to suffer in this life and God seems to still be in control.  A good God is letting bad things happen in a world that he originally created good.  How can this happen?  The question is ultimately a question of theodicy.  Theodicy is the study of how God and evil should interact.  Kennith Surin defines theodicy as the attempt “reconcile the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect God with the existence of evil.”[1]  Surin also notes that “despite the efforts of these and other theologians, the though persists in many quarters that theodicy is perhaps one of the least satisfactory areas of the theological enterprise.  Confronted with the seemingly innumerable ‘solutions’ to the problem of evil that have been advanced over the centuries, one cannot help thinking that Kant’s complaint about metaphysics is probably just as applicable to theodicy:  ‘[it] has rather to be regarded as a battle-ground quite peculiarly suited for those who desire to exercise themselves in mock combats, and in which no participant has ever yet succeeded in gaining so much as an inch of territory, not at least in such manner as to secure him its permanent possession.'”[2]

The most common biblical example used to show the problem of theodicy is Job-an innocent man who suffers.  In the story Job demands to know, again and again, why God is allowing such injustice to happen in the world.  Some scholars, such as John Hartley, describe the event as a kind of cosmic court-case that Job is attempting to bring before God.  Job takes an attitude, as does Hall is his song, that God will give and take away, but we choose to accept both good and adversity from God (Job 2:10).

The song is an interesting piece on how Hall interprets suffering (which is somewhat different from Miller’s view in Hold Fast).  Hall believes God is who he is “no matter where I am.”  In other words, no matter how bad the situation becomes, God is still God.  This may sound a bit too axiomatic at first glance, but Hall is trying to get across the deep truth that God is still sovereign in the midst of suffering.  Hall upholds God’s sovereignty even when it seems like God is the one doing the evil.  How does Hall justify such a view?  Hall justifies it by suggesting that the same one who allows evil in the world is the same God who holds every “tear” in his hand.  The same God who seems to be allowing evil is intimately involved with our suffering as well (this again is an indirect reference to the God who suffers with us as found in the book of Hebrews).

After the first chorus, Hall remembers a time similar to the present when he was struggling and God “raised me up again.”  If it happened in the past, Hall does not understand why God would not be raising him up again now.  In the bridge we find some semblance of the hope that we found in other Christian songs we have already looked at when Hall reminds us that our help “come from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”  Even if in the present we do not fully comprehend why such things are happening, we still have the presence and power of the Lord.

The song is making direct reference to the idea that God does not change, and this is very important to the overall understanding of Christian theology today.  Although there are various places in the Bible where God does change his mind, Hall and others emphasize the fact that God does not change.  No matter what happens to us, God is still God.  This is a subject we will hopefully delve more into the future.   

 


[1]Kenneth Surin, “Theodicy?” The Harvard Theological Review 76:2 (April 1983): 225

[2]Surin, “Theodicy,” 225-226

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One Response

  1. […] Praise You in the Storm: Casting Crowns […]

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