We’ve all heard stories of triumph—people rising above themselves to move past an obstacle. For Canadian singer-songwriter Greg Sykes, the struggles have been as real as they can get. Suffering from an age-old battle with anxiety brought on by a fear of being in front of crowds, to suicidal contemplation, to—as a performing singer—completely losing his voice, and consequently barely holding on to a failed marriage on the brink… Well, frankly, we’ve also heard those stories before, if not even personally have or had experienced them for ourselves.
But for the seemingly common issues Sykes and his family have had to endure, God has led him on quite a unique journey, best described through his debut Integrity Music EP, Reverse (buy). In fact, the one story that directly led to Sykes’ salvation in Christ is so unbelievable, it can only be passed as the gospel truth. So now his life has flipped—which doesn’t mean that hard times are a thing of the past—quite the contrary. But there’s a peculiar thing about the past when God is placed in control of, well, the controls…that going in reverse has a funny way of showing us how to move forward in the right direction.
CCM Magazine: Let’s start with the album title, Reverse. Derived from Mark 10 which says, The last shall be first… Why does this message particularly resonate with you in this season?
Greg Sykes: You know, for my whole life I’ve felt like I just don’t measure up. Ever since I was a little kid I struggled with terrible fears, insecurities, worries, and anxieties. I just have in every season—every hockey team tryout, even auditioning for the school play—every time I always felt like, “I’m not even going to do this…there’s somebody better…” Yet, time after time I see God go, “Yeah, I can still use you.”
But then I would still struggle to actually believe that. Then, of course, when tragedy comes into our lives, there’s been moments along the way where as a kid and even now—having my own family—when we faced tragedy I thought, “Well, this is where I come to an end…” I’ve screwed it up, or I’ve missed my mark so bad that this is the end for me here, in my marriage or in my home life. Yet God has somehow taken circumstances and flipped them around and used that very thing that I thought was going to take me out, somehow, for good.
One example was when my wife was pregnant with my son and she and my daughter were out for a walk, a drunk driver came whipping around the corner and hit the stroller, tossing my daughter out of the stroller. Miraculously he didn’t run her over and hit just my wife’s right side. I get a call from the ambulance driver saying, “Hey, your wife and daughter have been hit by a car but we think they’re okay…” “You think they’re okay? Are you kidding me?!”
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