Joel Smallbone: "We're letting the worry end, and we're letting go of the things we can't control."
NewReleaseTuesday.com and Grand Canyon University's inaugural WE LOVE Christian Music Awards kicked off honoring Australian natives for KING & COUNTRY in a big way. They took home awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year ("The Proof of Your Love"). Their follow-up hit from their debut album, Crave, is the catchy and engaging song "Middle of Your Heart."
What's been great about this extremely talented new band is how their songs have connected so quickly and deeply with listeners. It is a testimony to the power of the Gospel that singing about God's Word doesn't return void. That's what He promises us in the Bible in Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV): "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." I recently had the chance to catch up with Joel about “Middle of Your Heart.”
Please tell me the story behind the song.
This was one of the last songs we wrote for the album. Luke and I had been on a long journey in writing and recording this album. We both felt—or feared would be the more appropriate word—that we were at the end before it even began. There had been a lot of complications with making the album. We were concerned that these songs were never going to see the light of day. In some ways, "Middle of Your Heart" was a bit of an SOS.
Luke was a newlywed—or about to be married—and I was single in my mid-twenties saying, "All that I have offer, is the white flag of surrender." That is really the sentiment of the song. We're letting the worry end, and we're letting go of the things we can't control. Sometimes we get stuck in that moment, where we say I realize this is a mess, and I realize I have no control, but you don't get to that next step. Once you realize those things, where do you go from there? For Luke and I, it was to pray to God to take us over the edge, to the middle of God's heart, to a new day dawning. Our prayer was, God, don't let us stay in this spot.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Lamentations 3:24 (NKJV): "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!"
...Psalm 38:15 (NKJV): For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.
...Psalm 39:7 (NKJV): And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.
...and Psalm 119:114 (NKJV): "You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word."
What do you consider to be the takeaway message for this song and album?
It's been a year and a half since we wrote this song, and it's interesting how much fruition, completing and fulfillment God has brought us. We've found that even in the first chapter of our band and our musicianship that God has carried us. Now singing this song every night on stage, going back to just last night, we've seen these lyrics resonate with people. They come from a deep, and authentic place, and that's what means the most.
The hope is as we write and sing our songs, that people who know Jesus personally will connect to the biblical truth of what we're singing about. Unlike "The Proof of Your Love," which is right from God's Word, this song is an honest dialog with God, just two young men, like King David, praying for God's will. This song is also a human experience song. The sentiment of the album is "hope is what we crave." That's what this whole album is about, is searching for hope. It doesn't seem to matter who you are, there is a deep longing and deep fulfillment for hope. That idea from the Psalms of "You are my only hope" is the concept of this song. The cry of the song is God, don't leave me in this place. The admission of the song is that we realize that God is our only hope.
This is where it begins
This is where all the worry ends
This is where I say
I don't need to have control
This is where I admit
I don't know how to handle it
Life in all of it chaos
You are my only hope
And all that I have offer
Is the white flag of surrender
So take me to the middle of Your heart
Lead me to wherever Your love starts
To a new day dawning
To the place You are
And if You wanna take me over the edge
I'll let you ‘cause Your love is where I'll land
Wanna be right where You are
In middle of Your heart
This what I believe
That if I give You my everything
I will become who I was really born to be
I'll stand up to say it
Yeah, Your love is something I can put my faith in
I carried what I carried
But now I can let it do
Yeah I carried what I carried
But now I can let it go
Now I can let it go
For KING & COUNTRY writes and sings from their hearts, and from an authentic and vulnerable place which are my favorite types of songs. Every song is written from Joel's and Luke's Christian worldview, which is so edifying. This is a David-like psalmist style song. When I read the Bible, I don't even have to know that he's a follower of God, I just read how honest and transparent he was with the Lord.
This song is about being bold, and also about being broken and praying to the Lord that this is where we want to be, "in the middle of Your heart." Lord, thank You for the opportunity to serve You. Thank You for the beauty and power of Your resurrection Lord. We are so grateful to know You and be known by You. My prayer is that as we just celebrated Father's Day, that we all pray to be indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and to have the Father's Heart. People matter to God. As followers of Jesus, we are in the middle of His heart.
This song fires me up to loudly proclaim about God's goodness, mercy and gift of salvation. From the first time I heard this band, this song stood out as one of my favorite songs. I really love the sentiment of the opening lyrics, "this is where it begins." That's all part of the Christian journey, to begin the race of life and run it for God's glory. Like David, Job, and Jeremiah, this song is about submitting to God and saying "now I can let it go." Amen to that!
Posted June 18, 2013 | NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.