David Wilcox’s “Deeper Still” and the Gospel

David Wilcox, a folk singer/songwriter from Asheville, NC, is one of my favorite artists. Though I don’t know his personal spiritual commitments, many of his songs have redemptive themes. This is one of them.
“Deeper Still” (written with Beth Nielsen-Chapman)
In the tears you gave to me, I found a river to an ocean
A concrete sky, and a stone-cold sea; I came to where the emptiness cracked open.
And all my fears came crashing through, and met the fire of my sorrow;
But I found my strength in forgiving you; I never even dreamed how far my heart could go.
To give my life beyond each death from this deeper well of trust; to know that when there’s nothing left,
You will always have what you gave to love.
In this life, the love you give becomes your only lasting treasure.
And what you lose will be what you win, a well that echoes down too deep to measure.
A silver coin rings down that well; you could never spend too much.
A diamond echoes deeper still; and you’ll always have what you gave to love.

What is significant to me about this song is that it affirms what author Timothy Keller has said about forgiveness–it is a loss. There is no way to forgive except by taking that loss. Forgiveness is dying to the right to hold that wrong that you’ve suffered over the person who wronged you. That’s what makes it so hard, and what is so counter-intuitive about it. But the most significant statement in the song is the phrase, “what you lose will be what you win…you’ll always have what you gave to love.” Even when we love and are hurt, though we might think we have lost, we actually win. We win because we have loved. And the love that we give to others, though it may be abused and even rejected, is always ours because we have been changed by that love. When we love, we reflect God because God is love. And even when the love (from him) that we share is spurned, we are held by his love that enables us to love in the first place. Don’t fall into the trap that withholds love because of past hurts. It’s the lie of the Evil One. Love as Christ, who gave his life in love for a most unloving and selfish people, did not only as our example but as our enabling Lover. It will all make sense in the end (Rev. 21).


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