BREATHE DEEP: SURVIVAL IS JUST THE BEGINNING
— Lincoln Brewster
The Genesis account of Creation captures one of the most colorful, creative, insightful profiles of God. As a painter flings paint across a blank canvas, God flung stars into being, planets into orbit, life into existence.
He created an atmosphere to protect our planet and gravity to keep us on it. He created plants, land, bodies of water, birds, fish and animals, endowing each living thing with the natural instincts to seek those things that sustain life — oxygen, food, water.
When God crafted man and woman in His own image, however, He elevated His own design. Endowing mankind with logic, rationale, free will and emotions, He gave us all an option.
We can survive. Or we can live — abundantly, fully, with vision and purpose.
Lincoln Brewster knows a lot about survival.
“My life started upside-down,” he says. “My mom and my biological father got divorced when I was very young… my step-dad, who was a commercial fisherman, was a really abusive alcoholic; so when we moved in with him, it manifested in my life and my mother’s and sister’s lives negatively. I think the turning point for me was when I became a Christian at 19. There was a lot of alcohol and drug abuse and addictions, but music was always my outlet.”
One of the most esteemed guitar players in the industry, and widely recognized as a trail-blazer of modern worship, Lincoln’s outlet has not only offered healing and hope to his own heart but to hearts around the world. Today, eight albums and more than two decades in, Lincoln’s music conveys the redemption and grace he has in Christ more clearly than ever.
“Musically, I feel like I’m in a new season. I feel like I have a renewed passion for what I do,” he says.
Make no mistake — renewal, much like refinement, isn’t a painless process. Just as his music helped him understand, cope and grow from a rough childhood, this newest project helped him understand, cope and grow during a season that could have completely undone his family and himself.
“Over the past year, Lincoln and his wife of 20 years, Laura, spent a good portion of their time in and out of hospitals after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Throughout her treatment, they both struggled to reconcile the circumstances. Exhausted and weakened by the situation, however, their greatest peace emerged when they allowed themselves to feel sadness, anger or frustration and instead of trying to hide it from God, to give it to Him.
“It’s frustrating that, often, when tough times come, the idea of sadness or weakness seems like a foreign concept to a lot of Christians,” Lincoln shares. “I go back to the shortest verse in the Bible — He wept. Jesus cried, and I believe He was sad that His friend died. I see Him displaying sadness, which can be emotionally healthy. He’s showing us that there’s one way to grieve — and that is to grieve. The important thing is not to stay there. It’s important to bounce back and find hope again.”
Music has frequently been the means by which God has delivered healing to Lincoln’s heart. And it is Lincoln’s music, especially as of late, that has done the same for others.
“The week before Laura went in for surgery, some of our closest friends lost their 21-yearold son in a car wreck,” Lincoln shares. “It was insane, scary and painful; but it’s the type of pain and sorrow that’s part of the journey. You have to embrace it. A few weeks after the funeral, they sent me a picture of their car radio that read, ‘Lincoln Brewster: Made New.’ It was a good sign.”
The first single from the project, “Made New,” indicates that this new season of hope, creativity and ministry is more than semantics. Though life has been a relentless gauntlet of tragedy, loss and frustration for Lincoln and his family, it has also been a wide-open canvas. Daily, Lincoln chose to find ways to partner with God and the masterpiece He had already set in motion. And daily, God passed him the brush and allowed him to paint his own altar, be it before His throne or another’s.
“When Moses went up the mountain to get the Ten Commandments, the children of Israel needed to worship so badly, they made the golden calf,” Lincoln says. “We are built for worship. Usually, we worship everything. It’s a focus issue. With all the great things that are emerging with a greater focus on worship within the church, we end up worshipping the worship. When the way we worship becomes more important than why we worship, we’re missing the boat. People want to have moments with God. On this album, I pushed the boundaries to try and create something new.”
Sonically, lyrically, he has accomplished just that. But on another level, Lincoln has discovered and shared a new paradigm through which to live life — one that perceives God as a necessity, not an accessory.
“The idea that I need God more than oxygen was just the highest altitude I could reach,” he says. “We need the Lord in our lives, and we need His salvation more than life itself.”
Like countless people around the world, Lincoln’s life has been hard. His early years were damaging; his current years are challenging. And while he has had basic necessities — food, water, air — he would be the first to say that his survival has hinged upon one thing alone — his God.
From day one, man was not created in order to be able to survive alone. Unlike those of animals and plants, our lives cannot be reduced to scientific formulas or equations. Much like Jesus demonstrated in His days on earth, we are a complex, messy, inconclusive mash of emotions, desires, hurts and dreams. We are created for love and to love. We are created to worship. And, while oxygen moves our lungs in and out, keeping us alive, it is only within the grace and company of the Lord that we truly live.