Lyrics I Love {how he loves us}

It makes me smile when a little-known but well-written song makes it into the hands of someone who can turn it into a hit.  A couple of years ago our church started singing the song “How He Loves Us” before it was well-known.  Thanks to David Crowder, the song is now on the radio and has become somewhat of a Bible-church staple.  As you may know, the song is musically simple yet lyrically complex.  It is a beautiful work of art.

But here’s what you may not know.  The original song was written by John Mark McMillan.  John Mark’s best friend, Steven, was a youth minister.  Steven and John Mark met regularly to pray for the ministry.  One morning Steven prayed,

I’d give my life for this [ministry] if that’s what it takes to see a movement among these youth. Do whatever you need to do God.

The next day Steven was killed in a car crash.  John Mark later wrote “How He Loves Us” in memory of his friend.  For me, that kind of back-story informs a much greater appreciation for a song with such strong lyrics.  In one of John Mark’s recordings of his song there is a part at the end where he sings an extra verse {not included in David Crowder’s version} and allows himself to be overcome with grief over the death of his friend in his honest struggle to reconcile tragedy with God’s sovereignty.  It’s not a tidy rendition, but it is beautiful, and it is worth experiencing.

As a singer, I am so thankful for songs like “How He Loves Us” because it presents the opportunity for me to use a well-crafted masterpiece to express the cavernous parts of my own heart.  Through John Mark’s song I can literally cry out words that express the exact emotions I feel, to tap into a place that longs to be filled, and to declare truth to the part of me that is in need.

One year ago today I sang this song at the wedding of my two friends, Mark and Maggie. When Mark and Maggie asked me to sing in their wedding, I was honored.  When they asked me to sing “How He Loves Us,” I was giddy with excitement at the thought.  On their wedding day I gave myself over to the song and sang with the throttle fully out, so to speak.  It was the kind of reckless performance that risks allowing everyone else in the room to see my vulnerability, but brings a type of healing and release unlike anything else I know.  By the end, I was fighting to keep my composure, consciously aware of the tears right behind my eyes.

We sang this song today at church {Happy Anniversary, Mark and Maggie!}, and as we sang I was reminded of one of my favorite parts.  Here is a lyric I love from “How He Loves Us” by John Mark McMillan.

You can click here for a printable version of the above lyric.

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4 Responses to Lyrics I Love {how he loves us}

  1. Maggie says:

    Katherine,
    Thanks for this post. It brought me back to standing on the platform next to my new husband and rejoicing in such a perfect celebration of God’s love for me. You sounded absolutely beautiful! I got goosebumps as you began to sing the chorus and we started down the isle. Such a beautiful, joyful memory. Thank you!

  2. Sarah says:

    Yep! You need to teach me your trick :)

  3. Sarah Wolfe says:

    Very moving. Didn’t know all this about the song. Seems some of the photos didn’t come through??? Maybe it’s just my computer?

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