Record Breaking Faith

Summer Hits

Fatih“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I was reading an article the other day on “Summer Hits of 2019.” With pool parties and barbecues, the music industry loves to release lots of new songs this time of year. This summer has had no shortage of new singles. Here are a few that topped the charts (with links for your summer listening pleasure.)

“I Don’t Care”was the first song released off of Ed Sheeran’s upcoming collaboration album. This song, which he preforms as a duet with Justin Bieber, is all about not fitting in. But the chorus argues that when you find someone who loves you, you don’t care about fitting in anymore.

“Senorita”is a spicy duet between Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, who are rumored to be dating. The song details a love-at-first-sight relationship, and while the singers want to try and just be friends, they keep finding themselves passionately drawn to each other.

“Old Town Road”has been the controversial song of the summer. Singer Nas X says the song is about his decision to drop out of college to pursue a music career and the titular road is the path to success. While critics are split on it, just this past week, it tied records for longest run as #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

“Never Really Over”is just one of Katy Perry’s new summer songs. A techno pop song, this anthem explores the idea of wanting closure from a break up. She sings about how even two years later, her mind wanders back to an ex-lover, and every time she thinks she’s over him, she wants to see him one more time.

It’s funny, these songs fit such different genres, tempos, and probably even demographics, yet their themes are so relatable: wanting to feel like you fit in or will find love; wanting to set boundaries in a relationship but realizing it’s easier said than done; wanting to be successful but realizing that comes with a cost; wanting closure when you know you will never get it. (And that’s from just four of the dozens of songs released this year.)

It’s interesting because struggling through life—wrestling with complicated emotions and situations—is what our faith calls us to do. In the Gospel of John, just before Jesus is arrested, he tells the disciples over and over how hard life is going to be. John 16 begins with Jesus saying, “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.” He goes on to say, “A time is coming, and in fact has come, when you will be scattered.”

Notice, Jesus never says “Because you are a disciple, your life will improve dramatically” or “If you have a personal relationship with God your problems will vanish” or “Pray about it and it’ll be fine.” He says quite clearly, in John 16:33, “In this world you will have troubles.”

And maybe that’s why summer hits resonate and rise in popularity and break records: because they remind us that, in this world, we have the same troubles as everyone else.

But our faith breaks records too. While our faith tells us that struggle is a natural and necessary part of life, it also gives us hope. Because we believe in a God who says troubles are temporary; a God who says you fit in and you are loved; a God who meets us in our relationships, right where they are; a God who walks the road towards our goals with us; a God who gives us peace even when there is no closure, a God who says “take heart! I have overcome the world!”

Zach Herzog

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