In Life - Debriefed, Thoughts on Writing

It’s been quite a year.

In the past twelve months, I’ve been through a major surgery and a minor surgery. I’ve buried a younger sister, an old friend, and a mentor. My wife, a four-year survivor of a heart attack, had a sudden return to the hospital, requiring angioplasty. We moved back to Texas after twenty eight years in Nashville, saying good-bye to family and friends. I took on the task of offering my own choral music online.

Lots of stresses.

As I pondered all this recently, I was struck by God’s unwavering faithfulness. No matter the grief, the pain, or the worry, God remained – constant and sure. So I did what songwriters do: I wrote a song about it.  Only it wasn’t in a flash of inspiration and a burst of creativity. I didn’t stumble onto a killer hook line and write the song from there. It didn’t pour out of me at the keyboard. It was more a process of discovery – like slowly unwrapping a gift.

For the past few months, I have been dwelling on Psalm 18:30-31. God’s way is perfect. God’s Word is proven.  I knew those words were waiting for me to set them to music, only I didn’t have a melody or all the other words I needed to go with them. So I put them on a Post-It note and stuck it on my desk – a daily reminder to write a song with these words. After Cindy’s recent heart scare, those words began to really sink in, and I sat down to deliberately craft a song around them.  The result is the product of several days of creative evolution: writing and rewriting, adding and cutting, and even flipping verses and phrases around. (Hey, if I’m gonna write a song about God’s faithfulness, I should be faithful enough to work at it.)

I think I got it right. (Time will tell.) And I hope to make it available here at the website in the future. For now, here are the lyrics. And if you’re having a year like the one I’ve had, I hope they will be of some help to you.

FAITHFUL
Words and Music by Robert Sterling

OUR PATH IS WINDING
AND SOMETIMES UNCERTAIN.
WE FACE THE DAY
UNSURE AND AFRAID.
BUT GOD’S HAND SUSTAINS US.
HE NEVER FORSAKES US.
HE LIFTS US UP
AND SHOWS US THE WAY.

(Chorus)
GOD IS FAITHFUL, EVER FAITHFUL,
UNFAILING, CONSTANT AND SURE.
GOD IS FAITHFUL, EVER FAITHFUL.
HE’S OUR ROCK, AND WE STAND SECURE.
GOD IS FAITHFUL.

GOD’S WAY IS PERFECT.
AND HIS WORD IS PROVEN.
GOD’S TRUTH WON’T BEND
OR BREAK WITH THE TIDE.
HE IS OUR HAVEN,
OUR SHIELD AND OUR SHELTER.
WHEN STORMS OVERWHELM
HE STAYS BY OUR SIDE.

(Repeat Chorus)

(Bridge)
KEEPING HIS EV’RY PROMISE,
HEEDING OUR CRIES IN THE NIGHT;
GUIDING OUR EV’RY FOOTSTEP,
TURNING OUR DARKNESS TO LIGHT…

(Repeat Chorus)

© Robert Matthew Sterling Music

Showing 44 comments
  • Bruce Cokeroft
    Reply

    Great song, Roberto! Thanks as always for sharing your gifts!

    Blessings,

    Bruce

  • Ed Rush
    Reply

    Very meaningful and comforting lyrics. Thanks Robert for sharing these with us.
    I hope you and Cindy are all well now. Have a great Christmas season.

  • Chris Machen
    Reply

    So good Robert! And always good to be reminded of God’s never ending faithfulness! Love you guys!

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      Thx, Mach. Sadly, i don’t think about such things daily. After I’ve been shown God’s faithfulness over and over and over, then it finally comes out of me in a song.

  • Brian Summers
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing these inspired lyrics, Robert. They are especially meaningful to me right now. Lots of thinking going on. Winds of change are blowing and I’m not sure where this old kite will end up when all is said and done.
    Praying you and Cindy continue to get stronger and finish the year well.

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      You are welcome – and thanks for the kind thoughts. I hope that wherever you end up it will be in heart of God’s will. (I may have to steal your “old kite” metaphor.)

  • Vikki Schwarz
    Reply

    Lovely lyrics and meaningful blog – thanks, Robert. Just what I needed. 😀

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      That is so very nice to hear. Hope you are doing well, VS.

  • Tom Eggleston
    Reply

    Robert – I’ve always believed that as songwriters, the songs that mean the most are the ones born out of our personal struggles. I think you have had your share this past year (which means you’ve probably written some great songs.) I have never forgotten a quote from Corrie Ten Boom (the Nazi camp survivor): “There is no pit too deep that He (Christ) is not deeper still.” I prayer blessings on your family and loved ones during this very special time of year.

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      Thanks. And I think you’re right. Because I’m not the most touchy-feely guy in the world (hahahahahaha) – these kinds of songs have to happen to me gradually. But then when I’m done, the emotions hit me.

  • Wanda Cooley
    Reply

    Looking forward to hearing the music rise up, too!
    Amen to the words!

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      Thanks, Wanda. I hope i can get some kind of demo done in the near future. Might be a nice choral anthem.

  • Jan Peterson
    Reply

    I’m sorry for the difficult year you and Cindy have gone through… and, grateful for you sharing/reminding us of His faithfulness, through it all.
    “God’s truth won’t bend or break” is a line I’ll tuck into those moments of uncertainty.
    Looking forward to hearing your song.
    May the joy of Jesus’ birth renew your spirits.

  • Kathi Basel
    Reply

    Love these lyrics.
    Can’t wait to hear the tune.
    Sounds like it was quite a challenging year for you and Cindy. Wow.
    God IS faithful!

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      It has been a challenging year. But no more so than a lot of people I know. There is an old proven: Life is difficult. And once you accept that, it ceases to be quite so difficult. I just have to be reminded of that frequently. 🙂

  • Jon
    Reply

    Thank you for guiding us to the Psalms my friend. Yes, born out of personal experience but rooted in the Psalms. Our churches need to be reassured of God’s attributes.

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      Agreed. “Immortal, invisible, God only wise…” I can’t write hymns like that – but there is a lesson for Christian songwriters o be learned from hymn texts: You can express yourself AND teach God’s Truth. And you can’t really go wrong if you mine the truth straight from the Word.

  • Stephen T Carrell
    Reply

    Your email touched heart-strings this morning, Robert. Your transparency is used by our God to encourage and strengthen through a real-life testimony. Tender chapters in life which deal with certain losses or at least temporary losses, whether it be the weight of health issues out of nowhere or a matriculation away from a treasured place or people we love, test our faith and do reveal what we believe. Thank you for the heart and the music you are known for. I can assure you God will lead you to the final melody of hope and truth, and harmonies of promise and reality, to further bring to all of us who have been blessed by your music, a much needed masterpiece. Deus pro Nobis….Stephen Carrell

  • Dennis Allen
    Reply

    All of us still writing after all these years applaud you, Robert. The struggles we’ve all faced sometimes broke us down, sometimes made us stronger and more resolved. And to add your health and family issues this year, passing of loved ones, moving to TX, starting up/marketing a new self-publishing company…man, now this new song lyric is even more powerful! Blessings to you and Cindy this Christmas, and may 2019 be a year full of seeing God at work.

  • Wes Hannibal
    Reply

    Heartfelt and Nice……….Very Nice! God’s Blessing’s on you and Cindy. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
    W.

  • Donny Monk
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Rob. Sometimes, it seems God’s faithfulness is all we have left to cling to. May we chime in with Job and say, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” I pray this song and the truth it frames will touch many hearts with hope.

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      I think God’s faithfulness may be the very root of what we should cling to. I’m no theologian – but His faithfulness is the very foundation of our own faith, is it not? Thx, for the kind words, Donny.

  • Daniel Calkins
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and testimony. I appreciated the lyrics to this new song; they reminded me of a piece you arranged several years ago…In Jesus’ name, we press on!

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      A wonderful song written by my friend, Dan Burgess. Interesting factoid about that arrangement: Dan actually wrote the 2nd verse of the song for that specific arrangement. Up to that point, the song, originally penned in the 1970s, had only one verse.

  • Todd Wilson
    Reply

    Robert, as is often (actually always) the case, these words speak to a single woman in the church where I serve that is battling epilepsy. Would you allow me to share them with her?

  • Barbara Billingsley
    Reply

    Beautiful lyrics, truth spoken here…… Looking forward to hearing the music. Thank you for using your talents for His glory.
    Barbara

  • DeAnne Cotthoff
    Reply

    Rob, I knew about some of your struggles this year and both you and Cindy have been so faithful and trusting the Lord on your new path. I love the words to this new song and they are so inspiring. Thank you for writing this song and can’t wait to hear it put to music. Love following your work. May God Bless!

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      Appreciate that, DeAnne. No telling how long it will take me to make some sort of demo recording. My procrastination skills are sharper than they’ve ever been.

  • Russell Mauldin
    Reply

    You’re a good man and a fierce defender of the craft. I’ve always appreciated that about you. Blessings to you and your family in this new season. May the best days and compositions lie ahead.

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      Thx, Russell. That means a lot. Merry Christmas to you and Janice.

  • Terrell Smith
    Reply

    I read this as the beginning of my devotional this morning. A lovely way to start my day. Sending smiles and hugs from Nashville.
    Terrell

  • Nancy L Middlemas
    Reply

    This has been my summer and fall summed up in your lyric. Unable to write but aching to do so. Watching friends, church, and family change, pass, and our country and world in deep pain that only the hand of God can possibly heal now. So very sorry to hear of all you and Cindy have been through. I do hope next years stretch of road is smoother for you and for all of us. Have a blessed, and healing Christmas.
    Nancy Middlemas

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      I think we all go through these times, don’t we? That’s what life is – and it’s good when we acknowledge it occasionally to each other. And from one writer to another – let me encourage you to funnel your pain, anxieties, and fears into a creative work for good. And thanks for your encouragement!

  • Rick Pruitt
    Reply

    Robert
    Thank you for your words, and insight. I know we are all at times of wonder where we stand with the God Almighty. Your words are a strong reminder of who we are, but more importantly-who He is.
    Thank you.

    • Robert Sterling
      Reply

      You bet, Rick. Glad those words have been of some comfort in this time for you.

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