Jon Foreman’s music, especially his lyrics, tend to have a profound impact on me. This song from his “Fall” album struck me with irony right away. Here is a sampling of the lyrics:
I’m not sure why it always goes downhill
Why broken cisterns never could stay filled
I’ve spent ten years singing gravity away
But the water keeps on falling from the sky
And here tonight while the stars are blacking out
With every hope and dream I’ve ever had in doubt
I’ve spent ten years trying to sing these doubts away
But the water keeps on falling from my eyes
And heaven knows, heaven knows
I’ve tried to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord, to suffer like You do
It would be a lie to run away
I haven’t had a conversation with Jon Foreman about this song, but I think he’s singing about the inevitability of pain in this life. He says that although he’s spent ten years trying to “sing gravity away” the water keeps falling from the sky. Jesus said, in the world we will have trouble (John 16:33) and not to be surprised when trials and persecution comes our way (1 Peter 4:12). Suffering is part of sanctification for the believer. But as I listened to this song, I realized that there is a deeper issue lurking.
There is no cure for pain, is there? Pain is always a symptom. Sure, we have pain-dulling medication, pain management strategies, pain therapy. But “pain” is always, always, always a symptom of some underlying problem.
And that basal problem for humanity is sin. We are a fallen race, that’s why there is pain. We need something better than a cure for pain; we need a cure for sin. Treating the symptoms of fallen humanity comes in the form of legislation, humanitarian activism, charities, mentorship programs. But those things don’t really solve the problem do they?
There is no cure for pain, one must cure the root issue causing the pain. Our race and our world needs to cure the problem of sin, and the only person who offers a comprehensive answer is the God-man Jesus Christ. He came to redeem, forgive, and justify humans everywhere if we believe and trust in him (John 3:16). And he came to redeem this world – eventually the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption (Romans 8:21). We need the grace of the Gospel to overshadow every square inch of this planet, than and only then will we be cured.