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Songs from IGNITE – Restore Us

Written by Chris Skinner on

As College Park Worship anticipates the release of its EP, Dare to Hope, College Park Church Production Director, Chris Skinner, sat down with three of the songwriters to discuss how and why they crafted these original songs of lament. Below is Chris’s conversation with the author of “Restore Us,” Tim Lukasiewicz:

1. What inspired or led you to write this song?

 Pastor Mark’s sermon series on lament was very eye-opening to me. It gave me a different lens to view hardships through. It gave me a voice to express my frustrations with the wrongs and evils that I see in this world. Knowing that God not only hears our cries but promises to be near to the brokenhearted freed me up to be honest with my frustrations.

2. Are there experiences in your life or the lives of others you know that informed the writing of this song?

 The main inspiration for this song came from my own desire to grieve the works of evil I see in this world. We live in the tension of the “already, but not yet”—meaning Christ has overcome this world, but the full restoration of this earth and the eradication of sin has not yet happened. Because of this, we unfortunately see evil at work in our world. Every time I saw another mass shooting on the news, or I read stories of injustice and the marginalization of the weak, I felt ill-equipped to express my frustration. Even more than that, as a worship leader I was unable to give the congregation a voice to express the corporate lament of this evil at work in our world. My hope is that the church could use this song to express our joint heartache when we face evil and that it would point us to a God who not only hears our cries but is alive and actively working to bring restoration.

3. What Scripture passages played a role in the song’s composition?

Psalm 80 was the main inspiration for this song. In this beautiful passage, the psalmist cries out to the Lord asking, “How long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?” (v. 4). The psalmist laments the ways in which the people of Israel have been scattered and ruled by other nations. In desperation, three different times, the psalmist cries out to the Lord, “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved” (vv. 3, 7, 19)! Similarly, I lament the ways in which evil has taken hold of the people of our world. I think of human trafficking, racial injustices, mass shootings, drug abuse, and the many other ways we see evil manifested in our world. My only cry is, “Father, restore us.” My prayer is that Psalm 80 and this corresponding song will give a voice to the pleas of injustice we see in our world and we could join in with the prayer of the psalmist asking the Lord to restore us.

4. Was the writing process easy for this song, or was it a struggle? Why?

Thankfully, Psalm 80 already gave me a fantastic template to shape this song. There were sections of this song that came together more naturally than others. The hardest part of writing the song was giving voice to the “turn” that nearly every lament must include. After crying out to the Lord “How long?” and asking him to restore us, I knew I needed a turn that would point us to trust in God. I was sitting at the piano one day using this lament to cry out to the Lord and started playing the melody in the instrumental. The beauty that is hopefully felt in this section should remind us that though this world is broken, God is still making beautiful things out of the dust. And unlike the gods and religions of this world, our God is not dead, but alive and working to reconcile the world to himself.

5. What do you hope the Church will see about God through this song?

I hope the Church will see a God who is alive, personal, and who hears our desperate pleas. God does not shy away from the big questions we ask but has given us the answer to our world’s brokenness—Jesus. Our city, our nation, and our world need to hear this hope. They need to know there is a God who isn’t afraid of our honest cries for restoration. They need to know that the pain and evil of this world are only temporal and that there is God who has already overcome the world. 

6How has this song encouraged you personally?

This song has given me a place to turn to when trials and hardships come. It’s given me an honest voice to cry out to the Lord in anguish. And, it has redirected my heart to trust in the Lord, and rest in his nearness.  

Lyrics for Restore Us

Verse 1

How long, O God

Will this moment last

How long O God

Will you turn your back, how long

 

Verse 2

How long O God

Will this evil win

How long O God

Till you wash away this sin

 

Chorus

Restore us, Restore us

Restore us, O God

 

Verse 3

How long O God

Will you hide your face

How long O God

Until you wipe our tears away 

 

Bridge

Let faith rise

Our God’s alive

He hears each cry

Our God is here (near)


“Dare to Hope” is available on iTunes starting Friday, Mar. 22.

Chris Skinner

Chris serves on the College Park Church Worship Arts Team as the Production Director. He is passionate about encouraging the church to gather and worship Christ. Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, kids, and Small Group.

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