Lyric Breakdown: ‘Are You There Do You Care’ -Shea Salisbury

This week we’re going to look at another Christian-influenced-but-not-necessarily-Christian song. I had never heard it before, but when it randomly showed up in one of the playlists I listen too, it immediately caught my attention. Last week we talked about how sometimes prayers can feel like they go unanswered, and that sometimes people feel alone or distant from God. I think this song is a good companion to that idea. Listen below, then we’ll break it down.

[Verse 1]

  1. God are you there, do you care
  2. About how it feels down here
  3. Alone in my living room
  4. I cried lots today
  5. As I drove down the coastline
  6. God are you here, are you near
  7. Because all that I feel is the shame
  8. From my fractured family
  9. And do you know what it feels like
  10. To not have a dad
  11. Do you know that I carry
  12. This pain in my chest

This song starts in lines one through five with the narrator calling out to God, asking if He is present, and whether or not He understands what they are feeling. It’s unknown if they are a person struggling with their faith, or if this is their first time seeking God. Either way, the point is the same. They’re hurting and feel alone. This is a problem not uncommon in many people today, though that don’t all always admit it. Sometimes when things are hard it can feel that way. Many people are apprehensive to say so for fear of looking like their faith isn’t as strong as it should be. Tragically, people within the church can be judgemental at times, and when you struggle with these feelings, it can be hard to reach out to someone.

As we carry on into lines six through twelve we see the source of the narrators pain. They are one of the many people in the world coming from a broken family, in this case, with an absentee father. This is an issue far too common in the world we live in. I’m not going to go into a rant about that right now. Another day, perhaps.

[Verse 2]

  1. God do you feel, can you kneel down
  2. And come in close
  3. And just show me that this world’s
  4. Not just dark, there’s hope
  5. For my story, for my pain
  6. For my future
  7. For the little ones I want to raise
  8. To love and to nurture
  9. And God do you see
  10. The true heart that’s within me
  11. That has lost all its whimsy
  12. And its trust in search of family
  13. Will I ever get to see the power of love displayed for me
  14. Will I ever find safety, will I find myself blooming

Moving into verse two, the narrator again calls out to God. This time asking to be shown a sign of hope in a world of darkness. The full extent of their life is unknown, but as indicated in line five, it hasn’t been easy. Continuing through lines six through eight, we see that what they’re longing for is a family of their own, the one they never had.

The next part of this verse is what I see as the most heartbreaking. They now ask God if he sees their true heart, the one that for a time was hopeful, but has now given up hope. This being the likely final event that brings them to where they are now. And, in line thirteen, we see them questioning if they’ll ever get the family they’ve always wanted. In fourteen, they now wonder if they’ll ever find their happiness.

[Chorus]

  1. Oh God I need you now
  2. Can I lay my head on your chest and rest
  3. Can you come and be real for me
  4. God, I need you now
  5. Can I lay my head on your chest and rest
  6. Can you come and be real for me

The chorus of this song is eloquently simple. They’re professing their need for God. It’s unknown how long it’s taken them to realize that, or how long they’ve been fighting it. In lines two and three, we see them seemingly so desperate and alone that feel like they need God with them in person. They long for the feeling of someone they can lean on to make them feel safe, to be the father they never had.

[Conclusion]

There are a few implications in this song that come to mind. The first is the most overt. The longing to have a family, especially for those who never had one of their own, can weigh heavily on your heart. In the case of those who grew up without fathers present in their lives, or for those who would have been better off without the ones they had, it’s good to remember that the burden of a broken family isn’t yours to carry, it’s not your fault. Also, even if you don’t have an ever-present father in your life on earth, you do have one above. He’s always there, even when it doesn’t feel like it. In regards to the desire to have a family and children of your own, you aren’t alone in wanting that. Many a young man spends his days seeking his Ruth. There are countless young women forever searching for a Godly man. I’ve heard all too often the stories of couples dealing with infertility and miscarriages. More people than you realize can relate to what you are going through, and are there to help. All you have to do is reach out. The church isn’t a place to suffer in silence. Your victories are our victories, your sorrows are our sorrows. When you feel like you’re suffocating, we’re here to help you breathe.

Secondly, as I mentioned last week, sometimes it feels like prayers go unanswered. Bare in mind that if things in your life aren’t going the way you want them to, it may be because it’s not the right time for you. It may be because there are greater things in store for you. Whatever it is, remember that you aren’t defined by the relationships you have or don’t have. I saw a post on online this week that said ‘David’s brothers saw a shepherd, God saw a king.’ As hard as it is, sometimes you just have to wait. God sees things we don’t.

Lastly, I would address the overwhelming loneliness that many people feel. As previously stated, some are apprehensive to say it for fear of being criticized for not having faith, but for many, it’s there. It happens. There are times when God can feel so real to you that you can feel His presence in the room. There are also times when all you feel is alone. Another post I’ve seen which I try to remind myself of, as well as others, is ‘If you don’t feel close to God, God isn’t the one who moved.’

This brings us to our closing verse for today; from the gospel of Matthew, chapter 28 verse 20. The final verse of the book, and my personal favourite. One that I’ve clung to for years, as it reminds me that even in the darkest of times, you’re never really alone.

As the disciples went to the mountain in Galilee as Jesus had instructed. He appeared to them, and they worshipped him. He proclaimed to have all of the authority of heaven, and of earth. He charged them to baptize all of the nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and to teach them to obey all that he commanded. Then he delivered his final words;

‘Behold, I am with you always, even until the end of the age.’
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