Dwelling in the House of God
I’m sure everyone is just as tired of hearing about the pandemic and quarantine months as we are; however, I feel there are still levels of revelation to unpack and understand concerning that global ordeal. Just like so many other worship pastors at a church, we were tasked to step into unknown territory to lead our church. We started leading in empty rooms and started learning how to pastor, encourage, and prophecy into a camera – praying that God would transcend time and space to speak to whom he wanted to speak. What a time to be leader in the church! All of us can truly say that we were appointed for “such a time as this” to lead our people to the true hope only found in God’s presence.
After the pandemic, we were feeling so aware of the “after effects” of social distancing. People were coming back to church, and they were so excited to be there. But as I was leading worship, I started to realize that the majority of my church was so hungry for “normal” and “what it used to feel like,” to the point that they were unintentionally closed off to what God was doing at that moment. We had just arrived on the other side of one of the biggest cultural shifts that any of us had experienced in our lifetime. We had physical proof that God had just put almost every church staff member on the bench to catch their breath. And yet, the expectation was, “Here we go! It’s normal now. Get back up there and do what we’ve always done.” The problem that I saw was that I could not un-experience what I experienced. None of us could. We were all deeply changed. We had been invited to follow the shepherd through to the very end of the “valley of the shadow of death.”
As a pastor, I saw hearts closed off to hope. The physical boundary between person to person had been lifted, but a stealthier, hidden boundary was still very much in place from heart to heart. And more concerning, for some, a boundary existed between their own heart and the heart of God the Shepherd. Everyone was well aware of how much it cost to get their hopes up. And for many, that cost was too great to risk. And so “Good Plans” was written. First to encourage the weary heart about the nature of God. But secondly, to pastor our people. If God is the God of hope (Rom. 15:13) and our lives are marked by hopelessness, that is a sure-fire way to alert us that we are disconnected from the reality of heaven. The goal of the song is to remind us all that Jesus is worth the risk of our hope. He is trustworthy in every way. He is the Good Shepherd.
There is a truer, better reality with Jesus. One where we can “take heart in deserts and gardens.” We don’t have to let what we see and feel dictate our hope. We wrote this song because we know that God is good. We have tasted and seen. Much the same with the pandemic, we cannot un-experience the glory of his presence. We can testify that he actually did “make us lay down beside still waters,” and “anoint our heads with oil” in the process.
“Good Plans” was among one of the first songs written for our newest project for Red Rocks Worship. It was one of those wild moments where the song was written quickly and efficiently; we always pay attention when it seems like a song is being divinely given with ease. We had known we wanted to write a song based around Psalm 23, but what we didn’t know is that the song would teach all of us so much about the heart of God as a shepherd.
My favorite lyric in this song follows the words from king David, “Surely your goodness and mercy will follow after me. So fear will not find me, ‘cause I’ll be dwelling in the house of God.” This is the invitation afforded to all of us. We have a seat at the table of the Lord, right in front of our enemy. We laugh at the schemes of the enemy, not because we are arrogant about our position, but because we have seen the goodness of God follow after us every day of our lives. He is good to his very core, and we are certain he has good plans.
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