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MercyMe’s album carries us through our storms

Micah Vander Stouwe
Micah Vander Stouwe

As summer fades and fall begins, we have much to look forward to—including the inhale (exhale) tour with the award-winning band, MercyMe. October 1 marks the tour’s inaugural show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and as we anticipate this tour, we are reminded of the many ways that God is good.

We can once again gather at concerts, which might feel miraculous. In 2021, we return to our workplaces, head back to school, reunite with friends and family, plan trips, and go to concerts.

But as we move forward, we don’t fully leave behind the things we’ve suffered. The darkness that our world endured during the pandemic is not easily overcome or forgotten.

We’ve grieved the loss of experiences, special moments, and even some of the people we love. But after darkness, there is light. The world has changed, and through it all, God has shown us the love and grace He has for us.

“Say I Won’t,” the first single released from inhale (exhale) by MercyMe, reflects the hope many of us are finally allowing ourselves to feel:

“Today, it all begins
I’m seeing my life
For the very first time
Through a different lens”

(MercyMe, “Say I Won’t”)

This time may have caused our perspectives to shift dramatically, as they often do when we emerge from times of unprecedented sorrow. This change in perspective can be jarring, but if we have faith in the Lord, He can lead us to great hope.

2 Corinthians 4:6 says, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” As His children, we reflect the light of Christ, allowing the world to see the hope that is within us.

The opening lyrics of “Say I Won’t” hold real meaning for all of us, but remembering the original inspiration behind this song brings a powerful nuance to these lyrics.

In December 2020, Gary Miracle, a faithful friend and former merchandising representative/driver for the band MercyMe, was in the hospital fighting for his life. He was in septic shock, and because of his illness, both of his arms and both of his legs were amputated.

In this terrible, earth-shattering darkness, Gary Miracle experienced unprecedented suffering. His life from that point forward would be completely different, and he would need to relearn the things he once did.

But instead of allowing the darkness to overcome him, Miracle chose to have hope and profound faith. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Miracle’s inspiring story, like this tour, is a testimony that we can find hope after times of darkness. Just as MercyMe is devoted to bringing praise to God’s name, Gary Miracle has made it his life’s mission to bring people to faith in Christ. The purpose of Miracle’s website is to spread the saving grace of Christ.

Although there are many reasons why Gary Miracle might have given up hope for his future, he still fought to live in the light of God’s purpose.

Despite Miracle’s suffering, he didn’t choose to dwell on all he lost. He explains on his website’s homepage: “My tragedy is a blip in my story. God’s grace is forever!” Now, Miracle travels and shares his story and his hope in Christ across the United States.

Miracle completed his first footrace in August, which is further testimony of God’s restoring love in his life. Working toward the race took months of hard work and a pair of prosthetic blades, but Miracle finished what he set out to do.

“I’m gonna run
No I’m gonna fly
I’m gonna know what it means to live
Not just be alive”

(Mercy Me, “Say I Won’t”)

After sorrow, there is life. Miracle chose to believe that, after the darkness he experienced, God could still give him life to the full. Rather than settling for survival, Gary Miracle set his sights on living for those victorious moments.

“I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
So keep on saying I won’t and I’ll keep proving you wrong”

(Mercy Me, “Say I Won’t”)

The odds of surviving were slim for Miracle, but he has chosen to ignore the voices of the world that might tell him what he can’t do. Instead, he listens only to the voice of God.
While most of us can only imagine the heartache Miracle and his family felt, we have all tasted one sorrow or another, especially in 2020. Now, the choice is ours: Will we allow the darkness to consume us, or will we lift our faces toward the light of God’s promises?

“Say I Won’t” isn’t the only track from inhale (exhale) that offers an uplifting message. The album explores the many facets of the pain and joy of human life. While “Say I Won’t” swells with hopeful energy, “Inhale,” the album’s first track, opens gently, reaching out with words of understanding comfort:

“Whenever you feel afraid
The next time you find yourself scared
Just remember that fear
Has no power here, it has no control
’Cause no chain can hold what’s already free
So hold on to Jesus and breathe”

(Mercy Me, “Inhale”)

The second song on the album, “Blessed,” is also a reflection of Gary Miracle’s strong determination to fight for hope and life. Even in uncertainty, we push forward:

“Walking on this road so long, still can’t see the end
Gotta put up a fight, ain’t gonna lie when doubt starts creeping in
Questioning every step, regretting all my mistakes
But I can’t forget without these steps I wouldn’t be here today”

(Mercy Me, “Blessed”)

The ups and downs of life might seem insurmountable, but the song continues:

“Every season and moment
My highest, my lowest
Blessed, blessed, blessed
Oh-oh-oh, oh, oh, oh
It all works together
For your good, forever
Blessed, blessed, blessed
Oh-oh-oh, oh, oh, oh”

(Mercy Me, “Blessed”)

The album’s final track, “Exhale,” mirrors the gentleness of “Inhale,” but the song releases us from the album with a strong feeling of certainty and hope. The lyrics invite us to hope:

“Inhale, exhale
It’s always darkest just before the light
Inhale and now exhale
Where there’s broken, hope’s not far behind”

(Mercy Me, “Exhale”)

Romans 15:4 has a similar message of faith: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

Find light and joy this fall by experiencing this incredible album in person! View tour dates on MercyMe’s website.

To listen to these songs, watch the “Say I Won’t” official music video and other inhale (exhale) official videos, and find the album on Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon.