Third World Symphony: A Review and a Giveaway

I bought this album before I’d ever heard a note because I believe in Compassion International and from everything I’ve read or seen about him, Shaun Groves is a powerfully effective part of their ministry. Supporting him is another way I can support them. But now that I’ve heard Third World Symphony, I’m doubly glad I bought it.

I’ve had the CD playing in the background of my day for almost a week now.  I find myself humming pieces of songs as I’m walking through the grocery store or while I’m brushing my teeth in the morning. But a few days ago I had a chance to be still and really listen to the words of the songs. Some of the lyrics felt like poetry:

Cathedral arches of reaching limbs
Crickets sing secret hymn over all of us

Fireflies tickle across our palms
Lit up like diamonds drawn from the black above

(from “Awake My Soul”)

As I listened, I heard words that sounded like my own heart’s cries.

Mercy come, justice come
Healing come, peace, Lord, come
Your will be done through us on earth

(from “Kingdom Coming”)

Even the cries that I try to ignore because they remind me of places I don’t want to be.

What in my heart ain’t twisted?
I’ve kissed for less than thirty pieces
Oh, God, can heaven even reach me – so far
Down here

(from “Down Here”)

Can I level with you for a minute?

I knew my life would be different now that my dad lives in Heaven and not here. My broken heart made sense to me and I had accepted that time would never completely heal the wound his absence has created.  I allowed myself some time and space to ask God tough questions and to be disappointed with His answers to my prayers for my dad’s healing here on earth. I still believe “unshakeable faith is faith that has been shaken.” I just thought my faith would have stopped shaking by now.

In some ways, I feel like what I’ve lived through has helped me appreciate this life more. I am much more likely to be in the moment and appreciate the time I have to spend with family and friends.

Hush away the hurry
Put to rest the worry
Come to quell and quiet me
In this moment given
Slow and fully live it
Drink up all the passing peace

Awake my soul to live this moment
Awake my soul,
give thanks and hold it

(From “Awake My Soul”)

Laughter comes easily again and I truly appreciate the blessings of my life.

But I’m still a broken girl.

All these months I’ve been waiting for all the pieces to be put back together. I’ve waited for everything to make sense. It seems like the pain I’ve experienced has made me more vulnerable to feel others’ pain as well. I feel like I’m always walking around with my heart on my sleeve.  I’ve put distance between myself and God because I haven’t been able to figure out why he won’t make life more cut and dry the way it used to seem to be. I’ve felt vulnerable and exposed. I thought my brokenness made me weak.

But as I was listening to the songs, I heard God say, “In your brokenness, I am strong.”

Come, we have nothing else God
And having You we want for nothing

(From “Come By Here”)

I feel ashamed of my questions and doubts. I wonder if God can still use me when trust comes harder than it used to. But in the still of the moment, through the words of a song, He reminded me that no matter how much distance I try to wedge between myself and Him, I can never get away from His love.

No death, life
Angels or demons
No depth, height
Can come in between us
And Your love, Your love, Your love, love

(From “Come By Here”)

Tucked between the verses of a hymn that feels like home, I heard words that felt like an altar call.

O I come to the Son, who can heal with His wounds

O I come to the Thief, who has robbed every tomb
O I come to the Victor, my Life and my Love
O Lamb of God, I come

(From “Just As I Am”)

For me, listening to all the words of this album felt a little like coming home for a little while. It felt like the first real prayer I’d prayed in a really long time. Oh, I’ve been saying words to God, but we haven’t had a real conversation in a very long time.  It wasn’t like an epiphany or a lightning strike of revelation from Heaven. It was more like an invitation to come over for dinner from a friend I haven’t seen in really long time. More like the eager anticipation of things to come.

I’m giving away two copies of Third World Symphony. I’ll randomly choose two winners from the commenters on yesterday’s and today’s posts. Feel free to comment on both posts to increase your already good chances of winning. Once again, I’ll give you a choice of questions to answer. 1. What’s your favorite hymn? 2. Do you have a special song that God has used to speak to your heart? 3. Do you pay more attention to the music or the lyrics in a song?



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22 responses to “Third World Symphony: A Review and a Giveaway

  1. I’m wordy, so I’ll answer all three. 1) Tie btw It is Well With My Soul and How Great Thou Art. I love to sing these w/”old” accompaniment or in the newer style. They are both such indelible, amazing any-how-you-sing-them songs. 2) Well, the above, of course, but also I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me) and The Stand and Mighty to Save (Hillsong United) just get me They bring to mind His power, majesty, and the reality of Heaven. Lately, I’ve been listening to Courageous, by Casting Crowns. I LURVE Micah 6:83). So…I lurve me a good beat, but I guess my answer to 3) would be lyrics.

    Love the lyrics that you posted, Amy, and will have to check this CD out.

  2. I love Blessed Assurance and IT Is Wee With My Soul. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • whimzie

      I love the new worship songs, but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for classic hymns like those.

      You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Sami

    I have always loved the way lyrics can say exactly what I wasn’t even sure that I was trying to say. A lot of times I think it would be easier to say “just listen to this song!” to explain the way I feel. As for hymns…Because He Lives takes me back to my grandmother’s funeral every.single. time. I don’t think I’ve even been able to fully listen to Blessed Assurance since Ben’s funeral. You would think that after 3 years I would be able to handle the flood of emotions. But I can’t…even though they’re not the sad ones. They’re the happy/bittersweet ones of where he is…and the reality of that assurance. And now I’m crying… thanks, Whimz!! 🙂

    • whimzie

      You’re welcome! 😉 Want me to pass a Kleenex?

      Time doesn’t heal much of anything, does it? Changes it maybe, but I don’t think it heals it.

  4. i am loving the new album. don’t enter me in the giveaway, just wanted you to know I’d been here and read…..and your post touched part of my soul—sometimes, it’s shameful (to us) that we ask God the hard stuff, and stay mad, and ….but to Him, it’s music. That we communicate, that we care, that we love, that we want Him near. Thanks for the words.

  5. Wow. A favorite hymn is hard. Great is thy Faithfulness, Come thou Fount, Victory in Jesus, Blessed Assurance, It is Well… I can hardly choose.

    • whimzie

      You’ll notice I didn’t name one. I don’t do well with listing favorites, do I?

      But Great is thy Faithfulness will always have its own special category for me.

  6. My favorite hymn is “How Great Thou Art.” Never knew why until one day I found out it is my mom’s and she hums it all the time. It has always been comforting. Love it when they mix it with Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God.”
    Words are important, but the music is very important too. The combination of the two, especially when powerful is what really grabs me.

    • whimzie

      That’s so touching, Mich. Makes me wonder what my kids catch me humming.

      I know what you mean. Sometimes a music with no words can move me. But when a song has great music and lyrics, it’s like magic.

  7. It takes more than a year…. just want you to know that, Sweet Friend! When my mom died (15 yrs. ago this past week) it was a shock & it really took me more than 2 yrs. to “adjust” to it.
    I am so with you on my prayers feeling like “just words” lately! But I’m guessing the Holy Spirit must be doing lots of “groaning” on my behalf.
    On the music: 3). I love both the lyrics & the tunes. I was so enlightened when I read “The Love Languages of God” because he discussed how different folks communicate w/God in different ways, & one was through worship! 1).Victory In Jesus is one of my favorites because my then-3 yr. old (who is now 34!) used to sing it in the car & knew all the words.
    2). Can’t think of the name of the song, but there’s one about a friend who prays for you, & when I have gone through some very tough times that has ministered to me so greatly because I have a couple of friends who I know do that.
    (Guess my ADD is coming out in the non-sequential way I answered your questions…)

    • whimzie

      My mom and I had a long talk on the phone tonight and that’s something we both acknowledged: grief takes so much longer than you think it’s going to take when it starts. And some parts of it I think are always there. I saw it in the faces of the people who talked to me at my dad’s visitation who had lost a parent. Whether it had been a year or twenty, I saw what my face must have looked like reflected in theirs. The tears came to their eyes just as easy whether they’d been grieving a short time or two decades.

      There’s just a lot of this process that I didn’t see coming. But I’m trying to learn to be patient with the process….and with myself.

      I think the way you answered felt like a conversation over a nice cup of tea so I didn’t mind one bit.

  8. Jo

    I hope my comment’s not too late.

    These words are Josh Garrels’

    You left on a Saturday

    In her hands you passed away

    On seashores we laughed and played

    Only months ago

    And I know you tried so hard

    To heal the space between our hearts

    And now your work is done

    For your daughters and sons

    Swing low to the ground

    For we have lost our father’s crown

    Hallowed was the night

    When the veil was torn

    And your spirit took flight

    From the world

    We gathered the sticks and leaves

    To set aflame our memories

    Your family gathered around

    To lay your ashes down

    Sing treetops and clap your hands

    For the grace in this sorrowful plan

    That night when one candle remained

    We whispered your name

    Swing low to the ground

    For we have lost our father’s crown

    Hallowed was the night

    When the veil was torn

    And your spirit took flight

    From the world

    -this song touched me yesterday like it never had before. I was listening to it on a long bus journey and cried real tears alone but in public but didn’t care. The tears were welcome because to me, they’re rare. All too rare. Over two weeks ago, a man who I can honestly say was like a spiritual father to me passed away after a long illness. I didn’t cry or even feel like I could show emotion at the time. Yesterday though I found myself wanting to scream out BUT I NEEDED HIM – I still need him. However I still have HIM, my heavenly father.

    Let me endorse Garrels whole-heartedly! His music has been such a gift to me, his style is tight up my street. It was listening to the words though that I realised just how solid this man’s message was. Go check him out.

    I’ll give a couple of examples of his lyrics,

    Gather round
    Here the sound
    Of a story that’s so old
    It’s been told
    Before time

    Like a serpent and a dove, you will have wisdom born of love
    and carry visions from above into the places no man dares to follow
    Every hollow in the dark of night
    Waiting for the light
    Take the flame tonight

    There’s more beneath the appearance of things
    A beggar could be king within the shadows,
    Of a wing
    And wisdom will honor everyone who will learn
    To listen, to love, and to pray and discern
    And to do the right thing even when it burns
    And to live in the light through treacherous turns
    A man is weak, but the spirit yearns
    To keep on course from the bow to the stearn
    And throw overboard every selfish concern
    That tries to work for what can’t be earned

    Flood waters rise, but it wont wash away
    Love never dies, it will hold on more fierce than graves
    Farther than the pale moon rises upon the open plains
    Past the time of the longest blood line
    There shines an immortal flame
    Somewhere in between forever and this passing day
    There’s a place moth and rust cannot lay waste
    This is grace, the face of love

    I learnt about Groves on Ann Voskamp’s blog and can’t wait to hear him whether that be because I’ve won this album or end up buying it myself. I looked him up and found his mission in songwriting to be very exciting so I can’t wait to listen! 🙂

    • whimzie

      Welcome! You’re not too late! Wow, beautiful lyrics. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll have to look Josh up and give him a listen.

      I’m truly sorry for your loss, Jo. Grief is such a weird thing. It doesn’t behave the way I thought it would. I hope your memories of your friend are a comfort to you now as you miss him.

      • Jo

        Thanks for the welcome, it’s lovely to be here – found you because Groves had tweeted about you, just as I investigated him first 🙂 I forgot to mention that Josh Garrels’ latest album is FREE (as an independent artist I think that’s very noble of him) so if anyone wants to they should grab ‘Love, War & The Sea in-Between’ quick 😉 I do have very dear memories of him, I must endeavour to replace my sorrow with thanks!

        ‘Sing treetops and clap your hands
        For the grace in this sorrowful plan’

  9. "me"

    This has nothing to do with your questions or giveaway, but I’d like to share something that a complete stranger said to me this week. After he met me he realized who i was. He had known my husband and was commenting on what a good man he was and he was sorry he had been taken so quickly. Then out of the blue, he began to share with me his struggles after his father passed away so young and he, also, was such a good man. He was angry at God and asked several ministers, “Why would God choose someone so good and leave Mr._______, who is mean, filthy rich and does nothing good for anybody. Everybody knows what a corrupt man he is!” . One wise minister said, “You know, I can’t answer your question. But let me ask you a question. If you were setting a beautiful table with lots of good things, who would you invite?” The man said,”That was my answer and I haven’t struggled with that question anymore!”

  10. My favorite song right now is by Matt Hammitt it’s called All of Me – I wrote about it on my blog here: – Matt’s son has HLHS (a congenital heart defect) and he so perfectly captures how I feel about Caden . . .

  11. I hope this isn’t too late, but I was touched by what you wrote. I can relate to times of questioning God, but it feels good that God allows us to wrestle with Him and talk to Him about our insecurities.
    My favorite hymn is As the Deer Pants for the Water. I just love singing it, when I get the chance…..and I feel like that at times, that I NEED God to live, survive and just be. A song that speaks to me is a song written by a friend of mine, CJ Bergmen…”Take All Of Me” Pretty much all of the songs he wrote spoke to me and many others of course. But I want to be like that to God – wanting to give Him all of me. Of course a constant battle.
    And I have no idea if I pay attention more to the music or the lyrics…but I know there are so many times where I hear a song on Klove and I sing it one way and then I look up the lyrics and realize I sang it all wrong 🙂

  12. Linda

    I know this is a late response, but I have to say…….”Be Thou My Vision” is my favorite song today and…. I miss your dad more than I miss my dad….. and my dad was an awesome man too! It could be that I knew I would eventually bury my dad. But I never dreamed that we would bury yours. He meant so much to so many!

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