Let There Be Light

Every now and then, a new song will release into the new world of Christian hymnody that is so unique and so beautiful that I have to stop and ponder. Its sounds compel so powerfully that it breaks my heart; not from sadness but for want of a container large enough to hold the beauty that I’m taking in.

Hillsong released an album called Let There be Light a few years ago. There is not much on the album that I don’t adore. There are a few songs on the album that I will still sit still on a cool morning ignoring my steaming hot coffee because I’ve heard some new strain slip into my notice for the first time.

The title song, “Let There be Light,” has a few key compelling points of notice that, when weighed, have the ability to stop me in my tracks. And so I offer, maybe stop in your own and consider them.

First of all, I find that I am sometimes not as discerning as my fellow worship music nerds across the globe. I don’t spend a lot of time dedicated to breaking decent music down into what is terrible and unacceptable. That used to be my life, but then I began to see into the creative hearts of music creators. Sure, I will not often sing “Fields of Grace” or “Heart of Worship” without a durn good reason, but I love em anyway.

Maybe it’s less about discernment and more about loving the creativity exposed in people’s hearts when they offer a moment of their creative time and process to the one they imitate.

A.W. Tozer wrote in his book The Pursuit of God, that all creative endeavors are essentially an echo in our spirit of the desire to know God and be with Him, near Him, close to Him.

What then is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends he only vaguely understands? [1]

Therefore if genius in creativity is simply someone so spiritually disturbed and inspired by the compelling beauty of the original work within which he actually lives that he cannot help but imitate it, then it is necessary for that man to study the original work of art. It is necessary for a man who wants to create to study creation. If he wants to write songs, he must listen to the songs set forth into the natural world; the rhythm of the cicadas, the drone of crickets, the crescendo of a downpour of rain into a forest, and the whistle of wind across a field of grain. He must hear that there is nothing new which he can add to the perfection of the symphony. There is no element a composer can bring which is unique.

He is like a master chef who has not created a new food group. But, with patience and genius compelled by the heart of God’s creative heart, he can combine those ingredients in unique ways that explode your taste buds.

Thus the Hawaiian pidgin phrase, “Pupus (appetizers) so ono (tasty) dey broke da mouf.”


In the opening of “Let There be Light,” I hear a musical imitation of God that does not need words. Do you know why this song will never make it onto the radio? It is not in a hurry. It starts off quietly, barely audible, and then the lead guitar, played with an ebow sings one note. It sings one note for what feels like a short eternity which the bass, keys, and muted kit pulse a steady and slow rhythm. It changes notes slowly and patiently.

In one movement of music before a word is even sung, they have composed one compelling and beautiful truth about God.

He is patient.

Have you ever considered just how much patience He wields when it comes to us and our world, our work, our fallen nature, and His call to us to redemption?

I’ll have the YouTube link for the song at the bottom of this post. Take a the time to listen to the first 50 seconds of the song. Go ahead. I’ll put something in large bold letters to mark your place


And it’s ok if you don’t go listen to it. I apologize if you were skimming and there’s suddenly some awkward giant title in the middle of the skim that doesn’t make sense.

Moving on.

There’s no darkness in Your eyes
There’s no question in Your mind
God Almighty
God of Mercy
There’s no hiding from Your face
There’s no striving in Your grace
God of Mercy
God Almighty [2]

Where is faith truly born out but in the contemplation of the true characteristics of who God really, really is? One of the vague complaints about contemporary Christian music is that it has too many first person pronouns written into it.

By and large, that’s true. It is very difficult to find contemporary songs that are truly ascriptive in nature, that offer up praise to God absent of an explicit expression about our experience of Him. It isn’t bad. I mean, I believe part of the equation for victory over evil in Revelation is the word of our testimony. Our testimony is told from our perspective, after all.

So worship music that includes an “I saw” or an “I experienced” is still holy.

But sometimes, I want to ignore myself and just look so fully on the grace and beauty that is God that I lose sight completely of who I am.

And then here comes this song encompassing the patience of God and the simplicity of his inimitable perfection. And let’s just sit for a moment. Let’s stand. Let’s pause and just look upon God.

In the same book, Tozer wrote that faith is grown from such an effort.

It is summed up for us in the Hebrew epistle when we are instructed to run life’s race “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” From all this we learn that faith is not a once-done act but a continual gaze of the heart at the triune God. [3]

So take the time. Just look.

Let there be light
Open the eyes of the blind
Purify our hearts in Your fire
Breathe in us, we pray
Let there be light
open our eyes to Your heart
Desperate just to know who You are
Shine in us we pray,
Jesus have Your way

So we imitate the first act of creation, when an all powerful God who requires no cause or explanation, existing eternally before the very first word, gathers existence into one thought and commands, “Let there be light.”

And we echo that command in a desperate request that our eyes may be open more if only to more fully see the glory of the living God, and in seeing grow our faith. We don’t seek the sight so that our faith may be substantiated by what we see, but so that the work of the Holy Spirit would work upon our stubborn hearts to grow into a container more appropriate for the volume of His glory, our souls a more palatial home for His reign. As St. Augustine once said, we don’t seek to understand so that we may believe, but we seek to believe so that we may understand.

And then our song returns to a quiet contemplation of God again. And what a beautiful observation that within the reality and person of God, there is no apportionment for denomination or nationality. There is no division of God between people, but simply One God who loves us and brings us into His person entirely. If the person is saved by the free gift of grace and that through faith, He has entered into a fellowship so beautiful and indescribable on this side of eternity, that we can only ever describe it with perfect inaccuracy.

There’s no borders in Your love
No division in Your heart
God of Heaven
God of freedom
There’s no taking back the cross
No regret in what it cost
God of freedom
God of Heaven

And with that, the irrevocable call to salvation and faith is set in the stone of history, beckoning all to gaze upon the Son of God lifted high. Though the heartbreak of the Father was so profound that it shook the foundations of his creation at the death of Jesus on the cross, there is no moment in time when He does anything less than everything He has in order to redeem our heart to Him.

So that we might seek His glory and become reflectors of that glory in this world

We seek to imitate His creative voice and echo his words to command light to come forth in the dark places by simply walking there.

And we bring with us the most powerful tool within our grasp: His Voice.

Tozer described God’s creative voice as less a constant echo and more a continuing voice of His original commands. God did not speak once and then finish. God speaks. The Voice speaks, whispers, shouts, sings, commands, and compels at all times.

And for the healing of the wounds of this world, we are harnessed as unworthy amplifiers of His voice to speak and sing and act mercy out upon our fellow man.


Good news embracing the poor
Comfort for all those who mourn
For the broken hearted we sing louder

It isn’t enough to sing and speak the truth. We must embrace it and increase its audibility. Louder!

Release from prison and shame
Oppression turning to praise
For every captive
Sing louder!

The evangelistic nature of the praises of God when sung into the darkness of the world do not require even the slightest explanation or apology. His truth is the great light that defeats any cloud of denial or shame. Sing louder!

Restoring sight to the blind
Breaking the curse of the night
For all in darkness
Sing louder!
Proclaiming freedom for all
This is the day of the Lord
Beauty for ashes

And with that truth, we sing one more time in honor of the first words, eternally recognizing the hope of light to chase away darkness forever.

And so in a song begun with the simple contemplation of the patience of God, reveling in the creative power and redemptive glory of God, launching into the commitment to join His song to call all mankind to His heart finishes in a benediction, a simple desire.

Let the light that shines above
Be the light that shines in us
There’s no darkness in Your way
So have Your way
Lord, have Your way

1. A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Ebook #25141: Project Gutenberg, 2008) 97.

2. Brooke Ligertwood, Joel Houston, Jonas Myrin, Matt Crocker, Michael Guy Chislett, and Scott Ligertwood, “Let There be Light,” Let There be Light, Hillsong Music Publishing, 2016. CCLI# 7069096.

3. Tozer, 110.

Categories: WorshipTags: , , , , , , ,

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