What It Means to Live with Mercy Me

The Remarkable Inspiration for the song, “Say I Won’t”

When you listen to MercyMe’s song, “Say I Won’t,” it fills you with the determination to keep trying. Whether it’s this line:

Not enough
Is what I’ve been told
But it must be a lie
‘Cause the Spirit inside says I’m so much more

Or this one taken from Philippians 4:13, which gives hope amid your challenges:

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
So keep on saying I won’t
And I’ll keep proving you wrong

This song has more meaning if you know how the words and the video came about. Family Life Radio visited with the MercyMe band and got the scoop on this powerful song. Their close friend for over twenty years, Gary Miracle, was their first merchandise manager. When people attended a concert, he was the one giving away t-shirts, instead of selling them because he had such compassion for people.

In recent years, Gary was dialoguing with Bart Millard, vocalist and song writer with MercyMe, about grace and identity. So, the first version of the song wasn’t specifically about the tragedy Gary would experience but came out of those conversations with him.

The Desire to Do More

In 2019 Gary got very sick and had to be airlifted to a hospital. He fell into septic shock. When he first woke up after ten days, Gary’s wife was the only one who could understand what he was trying to say. One hundred and seven days later, he left the hospital to be reunited with his wife and four children without his arms and legs. Bart explained that he completed writing the song while watching Gary and his family persevere through this.

When Gary received his prosthetic legs, the doctors told him it would take a year to walk. Gary did it in three months. When he read the song Bart wrote, Gary loved it. And out of a desire to do something powerfully encouraging during the Covid pandemic, the video was born.

Gary was thrilled to find some purpose through all the dark places he’d been.

It was helpful to him, as well as to all who watched and listened.

Gary has since completed a two-mile run. He continues to inspire, encourage and minister to others as he leans on the truth of God’s Word and his hope in Christ. His desire is to be faithful.

For his friends in the MercyMe band, the thought of losing Gary was painful, but they are encouraged by his fight for faithfulness and purpose through it all.

Gary’s story is the picture of 1 Corinthians 13:7, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

As the MercyMe members reflected on the people in the Bible, they saw many who had to persevere through tough times.

They saw no person in the Bible where life was always easy.

Moses dealt with the Israelites who wanted to return to Egypt where they’d been slaves (Numbers 14:3-4). Jeremiah was God’s prophet to people who wouldn’t listen (Jeremiah 25:3). Mary was no doubt frowned upon and endured the death of her Son (John 19:25-27). These are just to name a few.

It’s not about “following all the rules,” but it’s about putting the kindling on the fire to allow the Holy Spirit to do the work and light that fire.

It’s about worship and taking time to be in God’s Word and not getting distracted by other things. It’s about showing up for your family.

Mike Scheuchzer, the guitarist with the band, who is generally an upbeat kind of person, described a “funk” he experienced. He was not motivated to do anything, like a “dark cloud” was over him. After realizing this was a form of depression, Mike made some changes:

  • He placed his hope in Christ, not in his circumstances.
  • He started going for walks with his wife every day for exercise and time alone, away from the children.
  • He began to have regular meaningful conversations with his wife.

These adjustments helped him move through his “funk.” And just like Bart, who penned the words of the song and Gary, who inspired them, Mike pursues, “what it means to live and not just be alive.”

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