Music Monday: The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North

Each Monday, I plan to recommend a song or album that I’ve found helpful, encouraging, or otherwise noteworthy.

This week, I’m highlighting the latest record from Tenth Avenue North, The Struggle.

Deanna (my wife) really likes the song “Worn” from this record, and after listening to it myself, I did too. I bought the CD based solely on this one song, but I’ve found the whole thing to be just as good.

A dangerous temptation (or at least tendency) of Christian music is to stay within the confines of happy, upbeat songs. When we come to the Psalms, however, we find more than just excited shouts of joy. We also find deep depression, anger, pain, questions, doubts, fear–the full spectrum of human emotional experience is cataloged for us in the Psalms. The darkness is there, it’s real, and it’s dealt with honestly. By the time you reach the end of the book of Psalms, the Hallelujah refrains are by no means empty. They’ve been earned.

I say all that to say, this record strikes the same balance. The songs deal honestly with the allure of temptation and the aggravation of repeatedly turning to it (“Shadows”, “Hostage of Peace”), the frustration and difficulty of forgiveness (“Losing”), the reality of suffering and the goodness of God in it (“Don’t Stop the Madness,” “You Do All Things Well”), all culminating in awestruck adoration of Jesus (“Lamb of God”).

Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite lyrics to illustrate what I mean:

The Struggle

Hallelujah we are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing

Hostage of Peace

If we’re fighting, let it be for Your kingdom
If we’re violent, let it be against ourselves
Come arrest us with Your affection
Give us freedom
Make our need our only declaration

You Do All Things Well

Father among us, keep us in Your arms
There’s evil all around us and we’re trying to hold on
Just to know that You’re still good
And that Your love is alive
Oh, let us cling to Jesus and sing tonight

Highly recommended album. It’s good food for your soul, especially if you find yourself in the midst of struggle.

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