Theology

“Hello Hurricane” by Switchfoot

November 25, 2009

Music has the great ability to communicate in a way that is often unexplainable and incredibly powerful. I like how C.S. Lewis imagines that God created the earth not merely by speaking, but by singing. Music moves us in ways we don’t understand. This can be very good, but it can also be very bad. I recently listened to as sermon where the speaker warned of how much Satan uses today’s music to present lies covered with honey. If you really stop and listen to some of the words to popular songs, it is really scary what our generation listens to everyday. And music has become a part of almost everyday of our lives. You are out of the norm if you aren’t carrying around an iPod everywhere you go.

The plus side is that music can be a great instrument for growth, encouragement, and building up. Recently I’ve found two CD’s to be a blessing in my life. One of those is Switchfoot’s “Hello Hurricane.” To be honest I never really liked Switchfoot a whole bunch because it seemed they sort of “sold out” with their secular label and their words didn’t impact me as much. They were good, but just vague enough to fit in and still be “cool” in the music world. So I had this picture of Switchfoot as kind of “nominal Christians.” But this summer I got the opportunity to see them live in concert, and my perspective changed. First off, they put on a great show. But more importantly I got to see Jon Foreman’s heart in the acoustic show he did afterwards. I love the lyrics on his solo stuff, and I see more similar influence on the lyrics to “Hello Hurricane.” Part of that may be that they are on their own indie label now and so they are more free to write and play as they like, not just what is popular and will sell. But I also see that Jon’s lyrics are very real in this album. At the acoustic show he shared how this past year has been very difficult for him and that this album has grown out of what God has taught him — so it’s really cool to read his lyrics in light of that.

One of the songs that strikes me most is the song the album was named after, “Hello Hurricane.” The lyrics are:
 

I’ve been watching the skies,
They’ve been turning blood red.
Not a doubt in my mind anymore,
There’s a storm up ahead

Hello hurricane, you’re not enough.
Hello hurricane, you can’t silence my love.
I’ve got doors and windows boarded up.
All your dead end fury is not enough.
You can’t silence my love

Every thing I have I count as loss.
Everything I have is stripped away.
Before I started building,
I counted up these costs.
There’s nothing left for you to take away

Hello hurricane, you’re not enough.
Hello hurricane, you can’t silence my love.
I’ve got doors and windows boarded up.
All your dead end fury is not enough.
You can’t silence my love
I’m a fighter, fighting for control.
I’m a fighter, fighting for my soul.
Everything inside of me surrenders.
You can’t silence my love.
You can’t silence my love.
Hello hurricane, you’re not enough.
Hello hurricane, you can’t silence my love.
I’ve got doors and windows boarded up.
All your dead end fury is not enough.
You can’t silence my love

It’s a great song to listen to for all the difficulties of life, but what I love most about it is the attitude it portrays. I can’t help but think of James 1 as I listen to this song — “Count it all joy when you encounter various trials.” He’s ready for the hurricane, and it’s not going to stop him from loving and living in joy. He’s prepared for it — he recognizes that it’s going to be hard, but knows that it won’t destroy him, but rather build character into him and teach him to love and rejoice better than ever before.

But the lines that really stuck out to me the first time I listened to this song were from the second verse. I love how he combines Philippians 3:7-11 (“Everything I have I count as loss / Everything I have is stripped away”) with Luke 14:25-33 (“Before I started building / I counted up these costs / There’s nothing left for you to take away”). That’s how he can say “hello” to the hurricane that is trying to take everything from him and destroy him — because he’s already surrendered it all and counted it as loss. If all the stuff in his house is still the most important thing to him in the world then he is going to fear the hurricane above all else. But if he’s already given it over and counted the cost then he can warmly greet the hurricane knowing it cannot harm him.

I think we are devastated when hurricanes (read, trails/difficulties/tragedies/etc.) come because we have not really counted the cost, or counted all things as loss. Have you actively done that so that you’re ready for whatever hurricanes come your way? And I’m not just talking about material possessions here (although they are included). What Paul references is his birth, family, heritage, reputation, accomplishments, and honor (Phil. 3:5-6). What Jesus references in Luke is his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, his own life and all that he has (Lk. 14:26 & 33). Have you surrendered all of those things? What for — for Jesus alone (Phil. 3:7-11 & Lk. 25-33).

Jesus asks for all of us, everything that we have. I think He sends trials our way to remind us where our hope, joy, and value is found in. When we fall apart at our loss it shows us that we haven’t really counted the cost to serving and following Christ. We typically think of counting the cost as: giving up swearing, giving some money to church and charities, giving up our Sunday mornings, not enjoying the fun of sin (whatever your particular poison may be), being good and moral, etc. But have you counted the cost of, perhaps, family? Or your children? Your reputation? All your possessions? Have you surrendered those over to God already? Have you already counted them as loss? Not just, are you ready to surrender them. Have you done it already?

I’m not sure what Jon means when he writes about “fighting for control”, but I think that if we have surrendered everything to God, then we have given up control to Him. If our well-being depends on us being in control of the things in life (family, friends, possessions, reputation), then hurricanes will destroy us every time. Their “dead end fury” will be enough to destroy us. But if we’ve given up control to God and already counted all those things as loss for Jesus sake then the hurricane can’t take anything from us. We may lose the whole word, but it won’t affect us — because Jesus is not of this world.

We have no idea when the hurricane’s will come. Are you ready to greet them with a warm, “hello”? Or have you still not counted the cost of following our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

Hello, hurricane!

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