For many Christians, and perhaps even the majority, God’s sovereignty is a doctrine of the head but not of the heart. Most of us never have our faith tested in such a way that we have to lean hard on the promises of God that He knows best, that He is in control, and that everything works for the good of those who love Him. I have been a Christian for many years, and while I trust that I would be able to rely on God’s promises during times of great pain, I will not ever know for sure until I face a time of great difficulty.
Danny Oertli is a man who faced such a time and emerged with a clear focus on God’s sovereignty. Only six months after marrying Cyndi, his highschool sweetheart, they learned that she had cancer. After several years of battling the disease, Cyndi was declared cancer free. God granted them a miracle baby and they soon adopted a second child. But only eighteen months after adopting their son, Cyndi died very suddenly, leaving Danny struggling to keep his family together. Everything Inbetween is a story of the pain he faced, but also of the faithfulness of God.
It seems to me that the album revolves around the song “Worship You With Tears.” It is this song that seems to bring into focus Danny’s realization of his own faith in the goodness of God. It was the first song he wrote after the death of his wife and it is a cry of worship through the pain. “I am broken / I have nothing to give / I fall at your feet / And worship you with tears.” It is followed by “Fight For Me” which was inspired by a story in the life of Moses, who, when caught between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army, cried out in desperation. God answered, “Be still, and I will fight for you.” Oertli also covers Rich Mullins’ song “Hard to Get,” an honest, searching song that questions if God really sympathizes with us, but ends with in confidence. “I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here / Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led / And so You’ve been here all along I guess / It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get.”
Other favorites are “Years of Faith,” a tribute to the faith of his parents as Oertli acknowledges the steps his parents too that molded his faith. “From a tiny seed / Grows an oak / Watered by the years of faith / What started small / Now has grown / And is standing strong today.” “Just Like A Child” reflects on words he heard from a pastor who said, “true church can be found in Sunday school.” The album wraps up with an adaptation of Dave Beegle’s “Joy,” which is in turn an adaptation of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” This Oertli guy can play the guitar!
While I tend to gravitate towards louder music, I enjoyed every moment of Everything Inbetween and have been listening to it near-constantly for days now. It has a compelling mix of light rock and melodic pop music. The lyrics are pensive and most-often worshipful, always leading the listener back to the goodness and faithfulness of God. This is a great album, which only gets better when you know the story behind it. And despite this sad story, the listener will walk away refreshed and encouraged rather than depressed.
The album is available at Amazon.