I was on a personal retreat and meant to finish some songs, but had forgotten my journal, so I asked Jesus for a new song.
I was coming out of a season of depression, and the thought that kept coming to my mind from Him during that time was, “I have never gone.” Where are you, Jesus? “I have never gone.” I need you, Jesus. “I have never gone.” I’m desperate for you, Jesus. “I have never gone.” The song stemmed from realizing He was with me always and the hope that brought me.
Fast forward some months and I was standing on stage with James Mark getting ready to help lead worship for an Antioch staff meeting. I looked out over the crowd and tears immediately welled up in my eyes. I commented to James Mark, “These people, these people know what it means to lay down their lives.” I saw people that had counted the cost and said, “Yes, He is worth it.” I was humbled. I had no idea that God Who Saves would be the backdrop to a prayer time for friends who were being oppressed and beaten for the Gospel, but it was, and something was unlocked.
A few days later James Mark presented the idea of dedicating God Who Saves to our friends serving in high-risk nations. I was slightly taken aback; I wasn’t actively (or passively) thinking about martyrdom or missionaries when I wrote this song, but the more I thought about it, it seemed to be appropriate.
As I wrote this song, and anytime I sing this song, this is the picture that comes to my mind:
I am alone in a heap on the floor, surrounded by darkness. I cry out for help, but there is no response. I call out again and again, but I hear nothing. I am about to give up and give in to the darkness pressing in around me, but I call out one more desperate time, “Where are you, Jesus? Save me!” I feel a warm hand on my back. I sense Him beside me. I feel His breath in my ear say, “I have never gone.” He tells me again and again He’s never gone. He holds me and I cling to Him. Something breaks inside of me. I am undone, heaving and sobbing, and I sense Him lifting my head. No matter what is happening around me, I know He is my reality. He is the God who saves. He has come, He has saved me and He is worthy. Slowly from my place on the floor, I stand. I’m a bit unsteady, but I lean against Him and begin to sing His promises, His hand firmly grasping mine.
I don’t know what it’s like to be persecuted and none of my closest friends have been imprisoned for the Gospel. I don’t have any personal ties to anyone who is currently serving in a high-risk nation. But I do know what it’s like to cry out during a desperate situation. This song came out of one of those moments, so it is not entirely surprising that it helped facilitate a time of worship reminiscent of times when friends in our movement were imprisoned. This is not just a song written from a time of desperation, but also from a place of victory. There is a sense of unity as we sing it, unity in our brokenness, unity as we find we have a Savior and unity in His victory, our victory.
In this tribe, I have found family. When I have needed help, others have sung songs of victory for me, even if I myself could not sing. They held my arms up in victory when I did not have the strength to do it myself. I am part of this tribe, so those we’ve sent out are my friends. I have prayed, warred for them in the spirit and have carried them in my heart. On days when they cannot sing words of victory, triumph, and freedom for themselves, we can, we will and we do. We will hold their arms up in victory and a song of praise will rise up. With one voice, we will cry out, “Hallelujah, God who saves!”
By Johanna Six
To hear God Who Saves live, along with the rest of AntiochLIVE’s new worship album, Our God Comes, join us this weekend at World Mandate in Waco, Texas.