Pursuing (2015)

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

— C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

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When I first embarked on the pursuit of God as a young man, I was inspired and confident. Trust came easily, and enthusiastic optimism pervaded my outlook. I had answers; I knew what to do and how to live. I aspired to make all the right choices, and I expected to experience the favor of God in response. Hard times—when they came—would meet my unwavering faith and be quickly swallowed up by the understanding that God’s plan was perfect. It was that simple.

Now a few years down the road, I still believe that God’s plan is perfect. It is beautiful and it is good. But the journey has been very different from what I expected, and that perfect plan at times has been far from understandable. It has included brokenness and uncertainty beyond what I ever imagined. God has said “no” to me over and over again. He has written spiritual drought into my story. Vision has been accompanied by blindness, growth by death,
success by helplessness. The inspiration and confidence which marked the outset of my walk with him have at times given way to suffering, pain, and doubt—sometimes for years.

I have felt like Jacob, left alone to wrestle with my God through the night, wondering whether I knew the God with whom I was wrestling as well as I thought I did. I have learned that this is the nature of following God. It is not to always be inspired, confident, and happy. It is to be often uncertain, to experience pain, to fall, to lack answers, to feel faint, to doubt the God you trust—and to continue pursuing him anyway. As Abraham showed, it means to set out, not knowing, but still believing unbelievable promises. As Adam learned, it means to fall completely, utterly, and then, in the face of that failure, to submit to the fullness of God’s mercy. As Joseph found, it means to be betrayed, to have hope shattered, to feel your life has been wasted, and then years later to see how God brought salvation from your suffering. As David demonstrated, it means to be broken-hearted and despairing, but to seek God anyway and find him near. As Joel exemplified, it means to experience devastation and still to embrace the truth of God’s promises. The journey is difficult, but it is tempered by hope, marked by grace, and surrounded by extravagant, unconditional love.

And so the story in this album reflects this truth of suffering. The call to pursue God with passionate abandon still fervently resounds here. It remains the all-absorbing purpose of the believer’s life. But the road will not be easy. It may break you. It will certainly discourage you. There will be peaks that lift you toward Heaven, and there will be valleys that threaten to crush you. Yet in whatever you experience, know that God is lovingly pursuing you a thousand times more earnestly than you can pursue him. If you are faithless, he remains faithful. He is there, every step of the way. There will be grace in the process and glory despite the pain.

May we press ever on toward that glory, carried by his grace.

— Craig K. Sandford
December 2014

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Come (2010)

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"Come." It's an invitation, a beckoning call to fill empty, outstretched arms. It's an extension of welcome, a loving offer from a Father who wants to hold you.

It's also a longing--our longing--our overwhelming desire for our emptiness to be filled. It's an ache to be close to the One without whom we know we are incomplete. And so we cry, with desperate yearning, "Come!"

He calls to us, we call to Him, and at the meeting point of both cries lies fulfillment, joy, peace.

The songs on this album will, I hope, help to draw you to that meeting point. They are not entertainment for the casual bystander, but a doorway to the union of Father and child. Approach them as a participant, not as an observer. Whether for the first time or the thousandth and first, drop everything and come! And once you find yourself embraced by those outstretched arms, approach the music as an intercessor, for many more need to hear and heed this simple message:


-Craig K. Sandford
December 2010

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