Song of the Day – Don’t Give Up On Me

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This song speaks to me.  Andrew usually writes the blurbs for the song of the day.  But rather than require him to explain how cool this love song to his wife is, I thought I’d take a shot.

“Don’t Give Up On Me” is not a safe song for married guys.  A well written song will often speak of something that is at the same time specific and broadly applicable.  When I first heard this song, I wondered if Andrew had bugged my living room or read my journals.  And I’ll bet you married guys will too.

My wife and I are both committed to our marriage, and neither would simply give up.  But I also know there are times when I look at myself in my sin, selfishness and general relational ineptitude, and I wonder if she might not have cause to give up on me.  Even for those who say divorce is not an option for them, there are many couples who remain married but have long since given up.  They’re married, but are done with each other.

This song, I’m sure, tells a deeply personal story—the details of which we are not privy to.  But it is presented in such a way that we don’t need the details to understand.  The desperation of the chorus tells us what we need to know. This is a great love song because this business of not giving up on each other is so much the essence of deep, prevailing love.  For better or for worse, we promise.  And we will be both.  That’s why we take the vows we do.

This is a helpful song.

-Also-

ATTENTION MUSIC NERDS: For fun, see if you can pick up on Ben Shive and Andy Gullahorn layering in some melodic themes from a couple of older AP songs in this track.  Hint, there are two.  One is a piano melody, the other an acoustic guitar.

 

Don’t Give Up On Me

The road is long that leads me home tonight
It disappears into the distant light, my love
Don’t give up on me.

You know I love you but I’m just a man
Don’t always love you the best that I can, my love
Just don’t give up on me.

Don’t give up on me.
Don’t give up on me
Don’t give up on me
I won’t give up on you

I’ve got all these letters I never did write
All this affection I kept inside my heart
Don’t give up on me

Don’t give up on me
Don’t give up on me
Don’t give up on me
I won’t give up on you

You were there when I shook my fist at the sky
You were there when I fell to the earth and cried
Do you remember how it felt just like we died
And rose again?

And the storm inside was raging
It was howling like the wind at the Pentecost
And His love was teaching us a language
We thought was lost

I have felt the holy fire of love
Been burned by the holy fire of love
Made clean by the holy fire of love

I walked beside you in the canyon flames
Deep as an ocean and hot as a thousand suns
We barely survived

Now I wake up in a golden dream
Angel voices in the rooms where the children run
All covered in light

Don’t give up on me
Don’t give up on me
Don’t give up on me
I won’t give up on you
Don’t give up on me
I’m begging you, please
Don’t give up on me
I won’t give up on you

Russ Ramsey and his wife and four children make their home in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church and the author of Struck: One Christian's Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017), Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative (Rabbit Room Press, 2011) and Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ (Crossway, 2015). He is a graduate of Taylor University (1991) and Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv – 2000, ThM – 2003). Follow Russ on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.


48 Comments

  1. Chris Hubbs

    Holy cow, what a song. Beautiful. This music nerd, though, didn’t really pick up on those hidden melodies. I’ll have to take another listen… or two… or ten…

  2. Tony Heringer

    This song rivals “All You’ll Ever Need” as my favorite song on this soon to be released CD. They seem to be two sides of the same coin. I have the perfect “all [I could] ever need” Lover in Jesus and yet I run after lesser lovers with regularity which causes me to confess to Him “don’t give up on me.”

    My wife and I just saw the movie “Fireproof” and it definitely echoes the sentiment of this song. Russ, I like the last few lines of your post: “For better or for worse, we promise. And we will be both. That’s why we take the vows we do.”

    I’ve walked through the fire in my own marriage and have had the humbling privilege to be brought into the lives of hurting couples in order to shepherd them back to Jesus and hopefully to each other. Sometimes the fire is put out and sometimes the house burns to the ground. It is tough sledding for all parties involved, but worth the fight every time.

    Here’s how Barliman (AKA “The Proprietor) put it when describing this tune: ““Marriage is a crucible; it forces you to lay down your life for another a little bit at a time, which is good for those of us too cowardly to do it all at once.”

    I’d say our relationship with the local church is a crucible too. Jesus calls us to pick up our crosses and follow after Him. To die to self, or to kill the flesh is our greatest challenge in life because we love ourselves….a lot. We want things our way and sometimes are ready to jettison the whole institution, whether it’s marriage or church, when things don’t fit our way of thinking.

    We might feel like one of the greatest thinkers ever—C.S. Lewis. Lewis had this to say about church:

    “[When I first became a Christian] I wouldn’t go to churches and Gospel Halls;…I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were nonetheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”

    These two wonderful institutions, marriage and the church, peel off our conceit and force us to lay down our lives in honor of our King. Let us not abandon either and encourage and pray for both to flourish in our generation and the generations to come.

    If you haven’t seen Fireproof, check it out. The raw emotion of martial discord is there and the love of Jesus is what puts out one fire and stokes another. Stories like this one remind us of the wonderful love the Father has lavished upon us that we in turn can lavish on others.

  3. Sevenmiles

    One of newest favorite AP lyrics:

    “I have felt the holy fire of love
    Been burned by the holy fire of love
    Made clean by the holy fire of love”

    Wow.

  4. Julie

    I love it!!!!!
    Tony, I was also thinking of Fireproof when I heard this song. I thought it was a great movie!

  5. Tony Heringer

    Julie…cool! We caught an evening showing on Wednesday. It was a make up double date that a buddy of mine and I messed up on Sunday night. So, I’m thinking we’ll also be going through that Love Dare book when it comes out. 🙂

  6. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Okay. This is hard work, but I’m fairly sure I’ve identified the acoustic guitar bit, which actually occurs intermittently through the entire song, but most explicitely right after the bridge. My friend Tim (sevenmiles) draws attention to the lyrics that precede this guitar bit in his post above. As a sidebar, AP nerds should also be reminded that Tim is also the person that conceived the phrase Resurrection Letters from which AP drew inspiration for title of this project. Anyway, once you hear which song it’s from, if you are anything like me, you will get a little lump in the throat. And I’ll give you a hint. It’s from The Far Country record.

    DISCLAIMER: This Rabbit Room writer has not received any inside information on this issue. I’m in the same boat as the rest of you nerds. I don’t want to post it yet, because I don’t want to take take the fun out of it for any of the rest of you that are still working on it. (And let’s face it, Easter egg hunts are fun!)

    I have also identified the familiar piano part, but haven’t been able to match it with the right song yet, though I’m thinking it may be another song from the same project (a song that appears earlier in the record than the song from which the guitar segment is taken).

    Whooo. I’m sweating. Oh, and by the way, as always, I may be wrong (but I don’t think so). I’ll be back when/if I figure out the piano segment.

  7. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Ginny, “Mountains On the Ocean Floor” is a good guess. I hear that lick too (it’s close to the same note progression as the other song I’m hearing). The piano part, if it’s the one I think it might be, is hard to identify because I can only hear about two notes before the rest of it is covered by the rest of the mix. I think I’m going to bed. The rest of you can take it from here. When I get back from the Nebraska football game tomorrow night, if nobody has identified the guitar part, I’ll reveal which song I think it is.

  8. paul h

    ya’ know, I just let my wife listen to this and we both agree, this sure would have been great for the movie Fireproof soundtrack. It sure has that same feeling of fighting desperation for your marriage.

  9. Ginny

    I’ve had my own experience of Jesus making all things new in my marriage, but that happened after a period of growing apart and such suffering, it indeed did feel as if “we died”. There was so much that had to fall away. Going through the motions of committed love can never compare to living out of transformed hearts – I think it is almost impossible to stay committed to that kind of love. When our hearts are transformed, we are bathed in light, and that makes all the difference.

    You captured all that is unseen in the battles that are raging all around us, Andrew, and the glorious hope of resurrection.

  10. Mark Cook

    I’ll throw my hat into this ring…i’m thinking the Piano part is from Mountains and the guitar part from For the Love of God. if i am wrong, i can always blame this on my cheap earbuds, right? ; )

  11. Paula Shaw

    Could the acoustic guitar part Andy G. is playing be from “The Love of God”, and could the piano maybe be from “Venus”? Just wondering. It seems like there are some familiar chord progressions in there…

  12. l

    I am beside my self with joy over all things new –i can’t describe the joy in my soul when i listen it it—I only have carried away but AP I :LOVE you!!

  13. Russ Ramsey

    I admit Andrew had to point this out to me. Both musical layers in question come from Love and Thunder- and if memory serves, the last half. Oh, and they’re in this song because they go well with it.

  14. The One True Stickman

    Well, in the spirit of diversity (and the fact that everyone seems to hear something different in there), here are two more possibilities.

    Piano: All Shall Be Well
    Guitar: Hold Up My Arms (C’mon! That’s an obvious guess anyway, just looking at the lyrics.)

    I’ll not be more specific about which bits in the song I’m talking about, or from where precisely. Just to preserve some vague semblance of unspoilerness.

    (Or if I’m totally wrong. Who knows, this is way too much fun. I can’t believe how much time I just spent listening to bits of other AP tracks to try to find the quotes.)

  15. Ginny

    ok, this is bordering on obsession-it’s The Silence of God for the acoustic guitar part-yes yes yes! It’s almost midnight and I should go to bed – is anybody out there?

  16. Ginny

    the other song is After The Last Tear Falls for the acoustic guitar part-that’s all I have to say about that

    is it, is it?

  17. Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    It’s been great fun watching this unfold.

    I’ll tell you this. Of the two songs, one has been correctly guessed, but I don’t think the guesser is certain–and the other song hasn’t been mentioned yet.

    Another hint: both of the nods happen in the last verse of the song.

  18. Paula Shaw

    Ok AP….tell us already!!!!! The good thing about trying to guess these songs is that listening to all the music is so much fun and enjoyable. IT’S TORTURE THOUGH!!!! So…please, please tell us already! =)

  19. Ginny

    The Silence of God-piano
    High Noon or Pillar of Fire-guitar

    I’ve guessed so many times that I should have used a life-line and phoned a friend by now. Eventually, I will win by process of elimination. I have a feeling that Andrew is taking great delight in this. Let’s see how many more tunes could it be…hmmm…this could go on for days, weeks…

  20. donna

    My husband is away for four weeks working catastrophe duty with the insurance company he works for. I was missing him so much this morning and this song allowed brought shape to the emotions I was holding down. Even in the frustration of being separated for a time, our love is strong because we work hard to love each other well. My husband Darrin is such a great dad to our kids and his spiritual leadership impacts our home even when he needs to be away to be Christ’s hands and feet to those who are hurting.

    Thanks, Andrew, for your songs. I hope someday to write a love song so tender and powerfully moving. What a gift from God!

  21. RM Peters

    The Silence of God-piano
    Family Man-guitar…I am pretty certain about Family Man, but not the other.

  22. Russ Ramsey

    @russramsey

    I think we have a winner here. RM Peters, from out of nowhere, swoops in and nails it like the last bidder on eBay. Well done! Special shout out to Ginny and Melinda, who together got it right. Nice team work, ladies.

  23. Russ Ramsey

    @russramsey

    I’m imagining “Don’t Give Up On Me” and “Love and Thunder” got a lot of airtime this week from those of you trying to crack the code. The cool thing about this little easter egg hunt was that no one’s time got wasted. AP’s work has a way of giving a little more each time I listen. Anyone out there think they listened to “Don’t Give Up On Me” over 50 times?

  24. Ginny

    I’m sure I did. I was ready to say Free Bird and let that be my final answer. The mystery is solved – exhale – and now we can go back to our lives.

    Russ, will you be challenging us with future musical conundrums?

  25. RM Peters

    I guess I do have the musical ear? 🙂 Or maybe I listen to AP a little too much? Nahhh…never! Besides Love and Thunder is probably my favorite record. I probably listen to it once a week, at least.

  26. Mark L.

    I really struggle with some of the words to the worship songs we sing at church because I feel that I’m committing to something I’m not sure I can/will do. For example, “I will give you all my worship, I will give you all my praise” or “I surrender all”. I usually change the words when I sing them to “help me give you all my worship” or “help me surrender all”.

    I love the honesty of this song. Reminds me of Rich Mullins singing “we are not as strong as we think we are” and Psalm 103:14.

    I wonder if Andrew is singing “don’t give up on me” to his wife or to God. I suppose it is a bit of both.

  27. Shawn

    Mark wrote: “I wonder if Andrew is singing “don’t give up on me” to his wife or to God. I suppose it is a bit of both.”

    I wonder if Solomon was writing “Song of Solomon” about his wife or about God? Isn’t marriage one of the most poignant examples of our relationship to Christ?

  28. David

    Rather late to comment on this I suppose, but I just discovered this song. I was out for a run and had just loaded Resurrection Letters onto my iPod. After I’d heard this song I spent the rest of the run replaying it, sometimes rewinding mid-song to hear various lines again.

    Every line provides fruitful seed for reflection, but the bridge is especially wonderful. I particularly enjoy the reference to Pentecost, and God’s graciously giving the gift of the common tongue of New Creation: love.

  29. Andrewtlocke

    No one has commented on this post in a while, but this song came through on Pandora (I have worked very hard over the years crafting my Andrew Peterson station), and I just had to read all the way through these lyrics…wow. This one is my favorite:

    And the storm inside was raging
    It was howling like the wind at the Pentecost
    And His love was teaching us a language
    We thought was lost

    How many times have I felt that storm? My wife and I have seen the gates of Hell together, actually I led her there, and she poured yet more mercy and grace on me, God strengthening her all the way.

    Thank you Andrew for writing truthfully and transparently. Your words inspire faith, hope and love.

    ~a

  30. Derikesorio

    Thnks AP for this encouraging lyrics,i listened to this 2 years ago on countdown magazine when i was giving up coz of pain i wz going thro,the song realy touched n blssd my life.many are times we give up on God,the church n our loved ones,when we don’t get what we’ve been expecting from them,but God’s promises are always true,He means it when He says He won’t give upon us.We shld reach to a point where we pray for patience to be able to wait on His promises,.realy love this Ap’s song.

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