The great Stevie Wonder sings in his song, Sir Duke:
“Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand…”
You don’t have to have any musical talent or ability to recognize that music holds a other-worldly nature. It is transcendent.
- beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience: the search for a transcendent level of knowledge.
- surpassing the ordinary; exceptional: the conductor was described as a “transcendent genius.”
- (of God) existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe. Often contrasted with immanent.
Music, even without lyrics, communicates feelings, ideas, and emotions just by itself. I wanted to write this blog to highlight and showcase how the human soul expresses and yearns for God and a Savior. Also how music can reveal the secrets deep within the soul of the artist, the person’s deepest longings, fears, and beliefs.
This morning I read an article on Billboard.com where Lana Del Rey opened up about some very heavy topics. I’m not picking on her or attacking her, I promise. In fact, I like her her unique artistic expression very much, even though I don’t condone all of her beliefs or practices. I read through the article my heart ached as I heard her voice a crippling fear of death that has been with her since the young age of four. As she states in the article:
“It got worse. But I’ve always been prone to it. I remember being — I was, I think, 4 years old — and I’d just seen a show on TV where the person was killed. And I turned to my parents and said, “Are we all going to die?” They said “Yes,” and I was totally distraught! I broke down in tears and said, ‘We have to move!'”
If you know Lana Del Rey’s music you know that it is heavy and dark. Not just some of the songs, but just about all of them. Considering the experience she had as a four-year-old, frightened of the reality of death, it is no wonder that she wrote the song “Born to Die.” As the song reiterates, she was so “confused as a little child” because “you and I were born to die.”
After reading the article I scoped out the first track on her new album Honeymoon also called “Honeymoon.”
Don’t let the title fool you, there is nothing happy and honeymoon-ish about this song. But this is intentional. Lana’s music shows that even the highlights and peaks of life, such as a honeymoon, are ridden with the looming reality of death.
Listening to the beginning of “Honeymoon” one will notice a very cinematic quality. It is orchestral and symphonic, beginning with strings that slowly come in and out, unpredictable and uncertain, with an ominous bass cello humming in a minor key (aka sad sounding music). There’s no telling where the melody is going.
Hmm, could this be a coincidence? Or does music truly express the things that lie deep beneath the surface? Is the uncertain melody of the strings symbolic of the uncertainty and fear she faces about life and death?
The Fear of Death
The truth is, we should all be very, very scared of death. That is, if we don’t have a Savior or hope to be rescued from it. See, death disturbs us so deeply because it is the most powerful, uncontrollable force on earth that was never meant to happen. Throughout history man has tried to avoid it or reckon with it, but no one in the history of the world has been able to save himself from death.
Keeping in mind the Christian narrative, for those of you who may not be believers, (that God created man, man sinned, and man separated himself from God and brought death into the world) it is not hard to see the seriousness and the heaviness of the dilemma we face as human beings.
The dilemma is death. We will all face it. And we all need to consider our mortality and what it means.
So is there a solution to death? Or are we hopelessly subject to this powerful and relentless force?
Remember how I just stated, no one in the history of the world has been able to save himself from death? Well, there was one. It was God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The most crucial part of Jesus’ story is that he was crucified, Roman soldiers verified his death by spearing his side to show blood and water pouring out (which happens when you are fully dead) but three days later He raised Himself from the dead proving He was God.
If you’re not already a believer, have you looked into this? Do you really know what the Bible says about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection? It is true. Investigate for yourself. This article is a good place to start.
Friends, Jesus is the answer. He is the antidote to death. And it’s not just a made up belief to comfort you at night. It’s reality! When you place your trust in Jesus Christ as your one and only Savior you are set free from eternal death. Though we have to die a physical death because of sin entering the world, we don’t have to spend eternity in death, paying for that sin in Hell.
If I could write a letter to Lana this would be it:
I know all too well what it is like to be crippled by panic attacks, fear, and burdened by a hopelessness about life and death. I’ve struggled with the fear of death since a very young age as well. Since I was little I’ve imagined losing my parents and fearing the day when that would happen. I also used to have a phobia of the night. Back when I was 18 or 19, I would shut down when nighttime came around. I felt the fear of death so strongly and “depression” doesn’t even describe the feeling.
I know now that I was living in darkness. I wasn’t fully trusting in Jesus to save me. I hadn’t really given my whole life to Him.
I wish I could give you a huge hug and tell you that the true hope and joy I’ve found in Christ is not just some make believe game I play to make myself feel better about death. It is the anchor for my soul because it is reality. You can only come to know this reality if you cry out to Jesus in humility, in your brokenness, and ask Him to save you.
I’ve spent enough of my life knowing what it’s like to not have put my trust in Christ, and enough time now placing my full trust in Him now to tell you that there is a world of a difference. If you want to be set free from the pain and fear, you can trust in Jesus today, and He will never leave you or forsake you. Through Jesus, you can defeat death. It doesn’t have to have power over you. By Jesus, and only Jesus, God’s gift to redeem us, we are saved.
“Oh death, where is your sting?”
Listen to this beautiful song and trust in Jesus today.