The Solid Rock in Times of Turmoil

Mike Donehey’s Approach to Songwriting

When Mike Donehey, Christian singer, songwriter and author, talked with Family Life Radio about how he approaches writing a song, he said it varies from time to time.

“Sometimes,” Mike explained, “you just go with whatever you are thinking at the time. Sometimes it is a journaled, well-defined idea. Sometimes you are playing, follow a melody and sing a word that leads to something like, ‘Don’t Stop the Madness.’”

“A lot of times a song begins like an oyster makes a pearl,” Mike said. “It starts with an irritant – when something gets under your skin and does not sit right. Or, as in Psalm 49:4, David says he inclines his ear to wisdom and with the music of the lyre, he solves the riddle.”

As Mike reads Scripture, there are times he struggles between what it says is true and what he feels is true, which can be two different things. He said he lets “those two battle it out” in his music.

When working on a song, Mike explained, “You’re going through a storm, and the song is helping you make sense of it.”

“In the storm, you are building yourself a life raft to hold on to. And then it is sent to other people to cling to.”

As you use the gifts God gave you, you can help others. Being transparent can be tricky and Mike is careful not to be too specific. While he writes, he is mindful of sharing his own challenges and seeks to make the words relatable to others. He is also careful not to be so general that his songs lose their meaning. It is a fine line of balance.

Mike is fully aware that people turn to Jesus in times of struggle and pain. It was like that in the days written about in Scripture and it has not changed.

He said, “The people who are not going through crisis and pain think they have it all together. They do not think they need Jesus.God, in His severe mercy, allows things to crumble around you so you can find out where the true Rock is.”

“The true Rock never crumbles under your feet.”

“If you are standing on something that is not the true Rock, it will crumble. But in the end, you will find that was a merciful act so that you could find the true Rock.”

“If you cling to anything other than Jesus, it will crumble, along with your circumstances.”

I Corinthians10:4 says, “For they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ” (NIV).

In the Old Testament, God is often referred to as the Rock:

  • “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18: 2 ESV).
  • “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14 ESV).
  • “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God” (I Samuel 2:2 ESV).

Mike Donehey

When a storm is raging around you and life is crumbling down, you can cling to Jesus, the Rock. He is the only One who will remain strong and standing amid the storm. You may need to go through the storm, but He is your lifeboat. He will pull you through. He is the One who calmed the storm while on the Sea of Galilee with His fear filled disciples in Luke, chapter 8. As you call on Him, He says, “Peace! Be still!” You can trust Him.

Since the wind and the waves did what He said, you can hang on and feel secure even when you cannot make sense of what is happening and when you see no way out. He has proven His power and love repeatedly. Beware of putting your trust in anything else. He knows the best way through the storm. He created the air and the sea.

Remaining focused on the truth written in the Bible will give you strength. Focus on specific verses to be your anchor when you feel waves overwhelming you. Listen to a song that speaks to your heart. Possibly Mike Donehey’s “Breathe in, Breathe Out” or “Jesus, Firm Foundation.”

When things are crumbling around you, remain standing on Christ, the solid Rock.

If you choose not to be anxious about anything, you can live a supernatural life.

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