BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#351 - "Rest Easy" by Andrew Peterson
How may we rest easy? What makes us rest easy? NRT's Kevin Davis finds out.

By KevinDavis_NRT

BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #351 -
Andrew Peterson: "One of the biggest things that I struggle to believe about the Gospel is that God is happy with me."
Andrew Peterson is a man of many talents with a successful recording and songwriting career, as well as being an award-winning author and the host of a highly popular online creative community known as the Rabbit Room. Peterson's previous project, Counting Stars, debuted at No. 1 on iTunes and No. 6 on Billboard. 
 
His single "Dancing in the Minefields" reached the Top 10 on the Christian AC chart, while the video for the song has received well over 700,000 views online. Peterson is currently working on his fourth and final book in the Wingfeather Saga series that releases in early 2013.
 
Light for the Lost Boy by Andrew Peterson brings a familiar sound, but in a new way with stronger, fuller production that doesn't jeopardize the intimate feel of Peterson's vocal delivery.
 
"Come Back Soon" launches the album with a haunting opening line about the historic Nashville flood as seen through his family's eyes, and closes with the plea that Jesus would hurry back and fix what's broken. 
 
"Day By Day," based on 2 Corinthians 4:16, was written after Andrew's visit to London's Kensington Gardens (made famous by Peter Pan), where he likened his exile from childhood to mankind's exile from Eden. The album ends with the emotionally charged "Don't You Want To Thank Someone." 
 
The album's title and several of the songs reflect the growing up years of the Peterson children, while at the same time bringing a message of hope for us as we make our way in a broken world. 
 
"When I think of my youth I remember carrying around this secret loneliness," says Peterson. "Coming to know Jesus, being rescued by him from that loneliness is at the heart of why I write songs. C.S. Lewis said, 'We read to know we're not alone.' One of the reasons I write is to tell people the same thing. My hope is that some 15-year-old kid out there-or some 50-year-old kid-will hear Light for the Lost Boy and find some comfort, some assurance that he or she is known and loved by the great love of the universe." 
 
I had the great opportunity to interview Andrew about his first single from Light for the Lost Boy, "Rest Easy."
 
Please tell me the story behind writing this song.
 
I don't do a lot of co-writing. I'm pretty insecure so the idea of sitting in a room with someone and asking, "What about this line?" It's the scariest thought in the world to me. The only times I've ever managed to co-write a song with someone is when they have a line or two or a chord progression and tell me I can take that and run with it and the song can germinate in its own time. 
 
"Rest Easy" is a song that was co-written with the guitar tech, Tyler Cook, on the Steven Curtis Chapman tour that I just finished this past spring. Over the course of the tour, Tyler--who is also in a band--had to tune what seemed like 800 guitars and get them all ready. All throughout the day when he would work on the guitars he would play these beautiful melodies and chord progressions. I talked with him and I admired him a lot for how quietly and humbly he served as Steven's guitar tech. 
 
I was deep in the songwriting process for my new album and I wanted some of the songs to sound different to stretch myself. I asked Tyler if he had any random guitar riffs that he would let me use for a song. Right away, he played for me the opening chord progression for this song. He taught it to me and I recorded it on my phone. The very next weekend, out came the song. He is the co-writer for the music. The music dictated the direction for this song. 
 
I started playing and the lyrics that came out were: "You are not alone, I will always be with you, Even to the end." That's probably the shortest verse I've ever written in my life. I liked that it wasn't that complex, very straightforward and taken right from Scripture.
 
Which Bible verses did you use to write the song? 

Matthew 11:29-30: "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
 
… and Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
 
What's the take-away message for listeners?
 
That passage started the song, and the phrase "Rest Easy" popped into my head. The process of writing all of the songs on the album had a similar beginning. I just started writing songs and seeing where they would go. 
 
One of the biggest things that I struggle to believe about the Gospel is that God is happy with me. When I would discipline my kids, I would tell them I love them just as much now as I did when I was disciplining them. We can learn a lot about the heart of God from disciplining our kids, which almost always is followed by an intimate hug. We need to tell our kids that I love them just as much now as when they were doing something wrong. 
 
I grew up with a legalistic understanding of God's discipline and thinking God didn't like me when I did something wrong. Brennan Manning said that makes no sense, because of Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 
 
God made the first move. God loves us as we are, not who we should be. The first thing that comes to mind when I struggle with my sins is to think like Adam and Eve and that I want to hide from God. Instead God calls us to an intimacy with Him, like a father has with his kids after discipline. God wants us to rest in Him because His love is unending. I'm 38; I've read the Bible, grew up in the church, and I'm still liable to think that God doesn't like me because of my sins. That's not true. I'm not alone in that thought. I'm sure many people feel like God is a cop trailing them without the lights on waiting for us to make mistakes. Many Christians live afraid of God. My hope is that this song will call people to rest. 
 
Lyrics:
You are not alone
I will always be with you
Even to the end

You don't have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don't have to prove yourself
You're already mine
You don't have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy

Do not be afraid
Nothing, nothing in the world
Can come between us now

You don't have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don't have to prove yourself
You're already Mine
You don't have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in Mine
So you can rest easy

You work so hard to wear yourself down
And you're running like a rodeo clown
You're smiling like you're scared to death
You're out of faith and all out of breath
You're so afraid you've got nowhere left to go

Well, you are not alone
I will always be with you

You don't have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don't have to prove yourself
You're already Mine
You don't have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in Mine
You can rest easy
 
We all need to remember that Earth isn't our permanent home and our freedom from the restlessness of this world will come when we enter the true rest that can only come from living eternally with Jesus Christ. This song has become a personal worship anthem for me to sing daily and remember that "everything under the sun is meaningless." As St. Augustine put it so perfectly, "our hearts are restless until they rest in You." 
 
This is one of the most worshipful, challenging and introspective albums I've heard this year. Whether as an album to set the mood for reflection and worship or for personal times of devotion, I rate Light for the Lost Boy by Andrew Peterson highly for fans of truth telling singer-songwriters like Bebo Norman and Jason Gray. 
 
We've all been in that place where we feel unworthy of God's love and down in the dirt. God promises us in Matthew 11:29-30 that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. God comes and claims us in our darkest place. When we are in communion with God, it is joyful and not a burden. I sing along with the truth of this song at the top of my lungs, and rejoice in God singing over me: "You don't have to work so hard, You can rest easy, You don't have to prove yourself,  You're already Mine." Amen to that!
 
(You can watch Andrew talk about the song here.)
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Posted August 28, 2012 | 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.

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