October 13, 2013
Steven Curtis Chapman
HOW GLORY UNFOLDS
By Caroline Lusk
Life is a series of folding and unfolding. We fold, compress and put away thing we don’t need or don’t want at the present time.
We fold letters to send or to hide.
We fold our arms to protect or to keep others away.
We fold to preserve a sense of control…to compress things into a manageable shape and size.
Unfolding is messy, revealing and can be uncomfortable.
Unfolding removes control and breaks down our guard.
Unfolding leaves us vulnerable and exposed.
Unfolding is the work of God
Steven Curtis Chapman knows what it’s like to be opened up, spread thin, with creases and wrinkled edges showing. He knows what it’s like to surrender control of circumstances and out come.
He has been unfolded by the Hand of God and, though painful at times, the unfolding has been glorious…
“These last few years have been some of the hardest chapters of my life…unthinkable chapters,” Steven shares. “At points it’s easy to think that this is it. This is the story. It’s hard and painful and we’re doing to live with some of the trauma of losing Maria. At times it feels like the end is closing in. But for me, the importance of this record and these songs is to share that this is one chapter in a story. God knows the plans He has for us and they’re not summed up in one small sliver in this one chapter. Can we dare to believe that God is telling an epic story with our lives. If we reduce it to one chapter it’s as foolish as picking up a book, reading one chapter and nothing else. He really is finishing the work He started. It was good and it’s going to be good again.”
It’s that same faith that has informed, created, shaped and refined Steven’s music his entire life; but most especially in the years following Maria’s death. From Beauty Will Rise, which reflected the grieving and relenting to Joy [Christms album], which honestly came about when holidays started to become bearable again, to this latest project, which captures the hope of a story yet to be finished.
“Music has been a part of everything I have believed and will anchor myself to again. Music has always been that anchor for me to hold onto,” says Steven. “To celebrate joy, to begin to laugh again… Through all the journey has allowed me to go through, music has been the gift God has given us. When words aren’t enough, it has been that faithful friend.”
That devotion will be on display as Steven sets out on a tour this fall with Laura Story and Jason Gray, who, as Steven says, “have had their own stories to share.”
“I’m excited to share this record on tour and sing some of the songs that have carried us through the darkest days.”
Though there are creases, chaos and times still brimming with acute pain, Steven is bravely, honestly allowing God to continue the work of unfolding the rest of his story. And that is a glorious sight to behold.
Caroline Lusk is editor of CCM Magazine.