It has stoked my heart to hear how our church has been blessed by the song Where Else Can I Go. I want to dive a little deeper into the Scriptural basis behind the song, and I hope you will go there with me. My desire is to help us draw nearer to Jesus as we look closer at the lyrics. We have many sources of inspiration in songwriting like experiencing nature, watching people, hearing powerful sermons and paying attention in our own relationships. Our greatest source of inspiration is the Bible. But more than a mere song factory, it is more fundamentally our basis for truth and life. God’s Word is both our litmus test and our sounding board, meaning our songs are often born from our experiences and desires, but we will only offer to the Body of Christ songs that reveal and reflect the heart and character of God as revealed in the Scriptures.
LET’S JUMP INTO WHERE ELSE CAN I GO TOGETHER:
You’re the only One I truly need
The only One who calms my anxious soul
You’re the only One who brings me peace
Reassures me that I’m not alone
This song is rooted in John 6:68 where we find Peter’s reply to a life-altering question from Jesus. We’ll delve into that particular verse later, but it is clear from Peter’s response that Jesus is the answer to every longing of the human heart. While this is unquestionably true of all of God’s creation, I wrote this verse quite personally from longings that Jesus has met in my own life. We have all experienced anxiety, but if you have been through a long season feeling consistently unsettled, I encourage you to rest in these lyrics. They echo the truth found in God’s Word.
Reading Psalm 94:19 is like opening the diary written in the deepest place of my heart. The New King James Version says it well; “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”
I can be so prone to worry. Not the nibble-your-fingernails kind of worry. It’s the more subtle kind that lies under the surface through the mundane moments of life. It can sway us from walking in the humble confidence afforded us by following Jesus’ Word and voice throughout our days and plunge us into a kind of paralysis in our decision-making, first frozen beneath a quiet, confusing fear and then swinging like a pendulum to comforting ourselves by indulging in fleshly pursuits. This is the problem with allowing anxiety to be our “roommate.”
BUT JESUS GIVES US ETERNAL COMFORT – REAL, UNADULTERATED COMFORT – THAT ALLOWS OUR SOULS TO SIGH WITH RELIEF.
Not because all trouble has been removed from existence but because He has touched our hearts’ deepest longing – we do not want to be alone. No one else’s attempts at bringing us peace will do the trick. So we sing this truth to remind our souls: You’re the only One.
My heart longs
For all You are
Peter could be brash. But he was real, and he wanted all of Jesus. Even as his part in Jesus’ betrayal was about to be revealed the night that Jesus offered to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter asked instead for his whole body to be washed. He was all in, and wanted as much of Jesus as he could get! If Jesus is all, then we want all of Him.
AND SINCE WE CANNOT CONTAIN ALL HE IS, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK FOR MORE REVELATION EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I love the way David puts it in Psalm 63, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (ESV)
Where else can I go what else can I do
But fall down to my knees and worship You
“So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68 ESV)
The chorus of this song is its clarion call. It echoes Peter’s heart-rending question: where else can I go? This is the cry of the believer who says, “I have searched through this weary world to find true life and fulfillment, and I have come up utterly empty. I have found that Jesus is the only One who brings true life to my heart. So I will stop the fruitless search and give You what You want and what You deserve – my heart.”
You alone are God and evermore my heart is in Your hands
Jesus I’m Yours
I want you to take a moment here and own this truth:
GOD DECLARES THAT YOUR HEART IS PRECIOUS, AND NOT TO BE TREATED CARELESSLY.
Your heart is God’s treasured possession. It is a serious thing to entrust your heart to someone. There is no better person in whom to trust this treasure than in the strong, tender hands of Your Maker and Redeemer. I wrote this song with Thomas Wilson, and we labored for quite a while on getting these lines just right. But the phrase, “my heart is in Your hands” has been in the song since the first day of its conception. That part is sure: Jesus is the most trustworthy person in my life, and I choose to bow down my heart to Him in passionate worship and surrender.
The fires may burn but You are with me
The winds may blow but You make me strong
The seas may rage but You walk on water
Even in the silence You’re my song
This portion comes from an array of Scriptures that describe the troubles of life as natural disasters. When the fires of life burn hot, Jesus is with us like He was with the three Hebrew friends in the fiery furnace of Daniel 3. When the winds of worry blow, like a gardener to a tree, Jesus ensures we are rooted deeply in His love (Ephesians 3:17-19). He stands by our side and uses the resistance to strengthen us and grow us. When the seas of turmoil rage, we can remember that Jesus walks on water. He is able to silence the storm (Matthew 14). And when there are no words to say, the simple utterance of the name of Jesus will bring us the assurance and help we need.
“I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior and He will not fail me.” (Psalm 62:5 TPT)
That last line of Psalm 62:5 can be your humble, confident declaration when you have been redeemed and have found your fulfillment in Jesus:
HE WILL NOT FAIL ME.
Everyone and everything else will fail us – it’s inevitable. But Jesus never leaves us empty or alone.
The bridge in modern worship songs is meant to build a truth like a tidal wave that crashes back into the chorus, the central theme. And so we find ourselves building on the truth that Jesus is perfectly righteous, supremely strong and unfailingly good. And He is present – He will never leave us alone. So, where else can we go to find what our hearts need? He alone has the words of eternal life.
Take a moment today to sing through the song Where Else Can I Go and declare these truths to God and to your own soul. Put aside other distractions and give Him your heart again today. Take a deep breath and allow Him to speak to you. Write down what you sense He is saying to you, no matter how simple or lengthy. Let those words guide you today. He alone has the words of eternal life.
By James Mark Gulley – Worship Pastor