Matthew West’s latest release, Into The Light, touches the heart of the human experience, and for good reason. The artist wanted to write more songs based on people’s true stories, so he asked fans to send in their personal life stories—and he read 20,000 of them in the past several years leading up to his new album. These stories, he says, profoundly affected his life and inspired this collection.
The title track is an upbeat testimony of stepping out of the darkness of sin and doubt, and into the light of Christ. “Hello, My Name Is” encourages us to stop using the labels of regret and defeat, and negative voices in our minds, and instead to embrace the truth that we are simply children of the one true King because of His love.
“Forgiveness” is a gripping song that speaks to how difficult it can be to forgive those who have hurt us. Forgiveness has the power to set people free, and we will find that the prisoner it truly sets free is us.
Speaking to social injustice, such as human trafficking and poverty, “Do Something” is a call to the church to step up and make a difference as God’s hands and feet. “Moved by Mercy,” a powerful duet with Caitlin Evanson, speaks of finding a haven in God’s arms far from brokenness and shame, and resting in His mercy and grace.
“We Are the Broken” asks us to lay aside the image of perfection we try to maintain, let down the barriers, and be transparent in our brokenness and weakness. The “glass” of our lives may be stained and imperfect, but it sends out a beautiful light that can encourage others to come to Christ just as they are.
“Unchangeable” exhorts us that, regardless of the negative messages of worthlessness and shame that we may receive from others, God’s love for us is never-ending and will never change. “Wonderfully Made” echoes that love and reinforces that God created us uniquely in His image for His purpose.
Waiting to see things change can be a struggle, but “Waitin’ on a Miracle” reminds us that we will find the answers to be worth the wait. “Restored” encourages us to hold on and believe that love truly can be restored, instead of giving up and walking away.
“Love Stands Waiting” is a song of encouragement that, regardless of how far we may fall away, God is standing there, waiting with outstretched arms for us to come home. It doesn’t matter where we were; the past is behind us, and a future in Christ is waiting for us.
West ends the album with “The Power of Prayer.” This song encourages everyone who has ever prayed for the return of a prodigal, whether it is his or her child, parent, sibling or friend. There is power in our prayers, even when we may not see a change or feel like hardened hearts will turn.
Real, relevant, transparent, encouraging and hopeful are words that describe the message in this collection of songs. Matthew West has spoken to the core of our struggles, hopes and fears, and responded by focusing us on the power of the Spirit, both in us and through us.
Reviewed by: Leslie Arter, worship pastor at Family Worship Center in York, Pa