Sometimes it’s hard to wait for heaven.
It’s hard to live life as a Christian, knowing this earth isn’t your true home.
But the act of endurance is an opportunity to see God’s work.
That’s the theme of The Gray Havens’ newest album, She Waits.
Husband and wife Dave and Licia Radford started The Gray Havens in 2013.
Known for a bold, imaginative sound with poetic, well-crafted lyrics, The Gray Havens don’t shy away from expressing deep human emotions. Their songs communicate joy, longing, hope, and worshipful awe while addressing important aspects of faith and life as a follower of Christ.
Their latest offering, She Waits, is an eleven-track exploration of endurance in the face of loneliness and the trials Christians face on earth.
The title track, “She Waits,” is a haunting ballad built on Romans 8:19-20:
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
“She Waits” offers a rich description of this longing that all Christians feel as they wait for the return of Christ and the ushering in of His kingdom:
“On her chain is a lock and the key / Is the radiance she will see / From the light that’s gonna be / Cast from the sons and the daughters free,” sings Dave Radford.
“It’s been a long time comin’ / But she hopes and she hopes for it.”
That hope spills over in the next track, “See You Again.” This song is brimming with the joyful expectation of seeing our loved ones in heaven.
“Gonna see you again / On the gold streets / Standing next to me, I know / I’m gonna see you again / Darling, won’t be long / Till every trace of trouble is gone / We’ll be together,” Radford sings.
There’s plenty of trouble and loneliness on earth, as “See You Again” acknowledges, but when we step into heaven, all of it will vanish behind us and eternity will “be better than we ever dreamed.”
The next two tracks, “Crows” and “High Enough,” step back to examine the source of trouble and loneliness. Intricate lyrics and an experimental klezmer flavor weave together to tell the story of Eden in a fresh and imaginative way.
“We fly / To the mountaintop / We climb / To the skies above / We sail / To the stars and up / But we can’t get high / High enough,” sings Radford, reflecting on the all-too-human desire to reach heaven.
Other tracks on the album offer insights on the process of waiting for heaven. “Gone Are the Days” reminds listeners that comfort is found in the presence of other believers and that the gatherings of Christ’s followers on earth are a foreshadowing of eternal communion.
“As I reach / For the bread and the wine / For the comfort I’ll find / Picture the scene / One day / To the table we’ll come / Every daughter and son, finally free” is the promise of “Gone Are the Days.”
“Not Home Yet” and “Forever” reflects on the joy of walking with Christ with the knowledge that He’s leading you home, while “Storehouse” is a soulful reminder that He provides everything we need for endurance and victory on earth.
We’re never alone, these songs tell us, not even in our darkest moments of discouragement.
We’re just waiting on one side of a door – and when it’s opened, we’ll experience more joy and fulfillment than we’ve ever imagined.
In the meantime, God has work for us on earth. “Three Birds in Babylon,” by far the most mysterious track on the record, describes the often-painful process of sharing the Gospel with those around us.
“They say / Look how she goes / She gave herself away,” is the scornful cry of those who don’t yet understand God’s work in the Christian’s life. “It’s a moonlight mirage, but we see right through.”
As the track continues, Radford sings about the power of a persistent witness. “We’ve been fools, we’ve been renegades,” realizes the scoffers, and they, too, turn to follow Christ.
“Three Birds in Babylon” draws on the album’s overall theme—looking forward to heaven—to motivate Christians to share the Gospel with those around them. After all, we could have the overwhelming joy of seeing them in heaven someday!
She Waits also features The Gray Havens’ signature instrumental tracks. “Return” and “Morning Light” are layered with rich harmonies and somber joy that offer a chance to think about the deep theological truths expressed throughout the album.
The album’s sound is diverse, drawing from classical and traditional influences to provide a listening experience that will surely engage anyone. The band also offers videos about each song which explain the inspiration and clarify theological points in the lyrics.
Spend some time listening to this album and be encouraged as you look forward to heaven!