Farther Along

Four notes. That’s all it takes. My heart rate begins to pick up speed. My fingers tingle in response to intense appreciation and reverence. My mind is captivated by the anticipation of profound words. Once spoken, they reveal new truths and usher reminders of old ones. Elated or depressed, content or restless, faith-filled or doubtful, the authentic, honest, and powerful lyrics of “Farther Along” by Josh Garrels move me to a place of acceptance of all good and bad in life, contentment of where I am presently, and an awe and reverence at the simple and yet equally profound reality of God in our human lives.

Originally written in 1911 by a Reverend depressed that his ministry had prevented him from being present at the birth of his first-born, Josh Garrels creatively recompiled the lyrics and added some of his own to present the gospel as an authentic, timeless, yet relevant truth that embraces the tragedies and beauties of life. With each precisely crafted line, the complexities of the constant human fight for truth in a world of confusion are honestly acknowledged. The need to be all-knowing is surrendered into the hands of the Father. But the commitment to live out the thus sought-out truth in our lives is brought as an offering before the Lord to the glory of His name.

Farther Along, we will understand. But for now, let us live in the sunshine, realizing that we have been given the blessing of knowing the greatest truth of all: Jesus is alive. Jesus loves us. Jesus is exalted. And one day, we will meet with him face to face.

As an aspiring writer, I can only hope to speak of my experiences in such authenticity to the reality of my own life and the reality of who God is that those who read could come back again and again and never fail to encounter the relevance of God in the complexities of our daily life. Equally, I hope my words share an unfailing commitment to truth without ever claiming to have fully achieved it.

“Farther Along”

By: Josh Garrels

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Tempted and tried, I wondered why
The good man died, the bad man thrives
And Jesus cries because he loves em’ both
We’re all cast-aways in need of ropes
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I’ve seen

Where did I go wrong, I sang along
To every chorus of the song
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gates
Leading mice and men down to their fates
But some will courageously escape
The seductive voice with a heart of faith
While walkin’ that line back home

So much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run
And wash away all the things you’ve done
Forgiveness alright

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin’ for my soul
And I’ve got no place left go
Cause I got changed by what I’ve been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin’ on

Skipping like a calf loosed from it’s stall
I’m free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I’ll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levee and my bluff
Let the flood wash me

And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the son of god is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

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