Should Worship Songwriters be as Inspired by Nature as by Scripture?
Where should worship music's inspiration come from?
Since all of creation declares the glory of God, everywhere you go can inspire a song. And our churches are full of songs that praise the God of beautiful sunrises, waterfalls, snowcapped mountains and other natural wonders. Perhaps the most famous current worship song of this nature is the anthem “Indescribable,” which Laura Story wrote after being inspired while driving her car through a mountain range:
“It was one of those moments where the sun was setting and the leaves were falling. It was gorgeous, and I just began to think about creation. I think it’s Psalm 19 that says, ‘The heavens are declaring the glory of God.’ It was like that — as if the rocks were crying out. It was this glorious moment of looking at creation and thinking, ‘Wow, there are still people in this world that don’t believe in God, people that think this was an accident.’ I didn’t have any words to describe God’s splendor at that moment; I was thinking, ‘You are truly indescribable.’” [i]
Story’s first verse and chorus came in that burst of inspiration, but she labored over the second verse. And of course that meant turning to the Bible. In this case, she used God’s response in Job 38 that begins, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?”
Story’s verse parallels this chapter to great effect. This moves “Indescribable” far beyond a pantheistic celebration of the natural world, and gives us a proper theological framework for being awestruck by our natural surroundings. So, go ahead and let the many wonders of creation inspire you. But remember to think biblically. As Story continues,
“It is scary to think of worship songwriters not being determined to use the Word. When you put biblical truth to the songs used in churches, you’ll have the congregation leave singing the sermon. You’ll have God’s thoughts, things that are God-breathed, stuck in their heads. It’s sad to think about a really catchy tune paired up with bad theology, because that could, honestly, do a lot of damage in church.” [ii]