Track 8 – Nothing Is Wasted


To me, this song represents an important idea during this season of my life.  It’s something I’ve been trying to say ever since I read Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim At Tinker Creek where she wrote that nature’s is “a spendthrift economy; though nothing is lost, all is spent.”

When I first read that, I felt like it gave my life back to me. It was an assurance that the worst we’ve known, experienced, and even given out is, at the very least, not wasted. I suppose it’s a furthering of the idea that everything sad may yet come untrue. It’s the hope that loss does not have the final say. Love will have the last word. As we continually bring to the Lord the worst that would otherwise turn our hearts to stone, he is able to mercifully reshape it into something redemptive, useful, maybe even beautiful.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite Frederick Buechner quotes:

“But the worst isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best. It’s the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock-bottom worst of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last, best thing is the laughing deep in the hearts of the saints, sometimes our hearts even. Yes. You are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes. You are healed. All is well.”
— Frederick Buechner, The Final Beast

Jason Ingram helped me write this song, and later Doug McKelvey joined in to help me with a particularly stubborn section of lyric.  Jason was passionate about the vision for the song and wanted to give it the best chance of finding the biggest audience, so we wrote an anthemic kind of bridge that would lend itself to a congregational kind of moment.

Though I love the way it turned out, a part of me missed the more singer/songwriter styled bridge we originally wrote, and so I was grateful to get to record an alternate solo piano version to be included in the Special Edition.  Both are featured here for you to listen to, I hope you enjoy them both.


Nothing Is Wasted
(Jason Gray / Jason Ingram / Doug McKelvey)

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It’s from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what’s lost will be found again

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

From the ruins
From the ashes
Beauty will rise
From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine


A Way To See In The Dark available on iTunes, and the Rabbit Room Store

Jason Gray is a recording artist with Centricity Records. His latest single, out now, is "When I Say Yes".


  1. Rachel

    What a beautiful victory anthem for our darkest moments. I just played both versions twice (still trying to decide which I like best).
    And thank you for sharing that radiant passage from Buechner. I’m going to print that one out and pin it to my bulletin board.

  2. Dan R.

    I guess the reason I like the idea this song embodies so much is that it’s something I need at this point; it’s the hope that’s the desperate grab in the dark for something to hold onto that was written about before. I need this to be part and parcel of my Redeemer’s relation to me. I’m in wonder at the way He can create in me this essential desire and Himself become its fulfillment for me, and I’m grateful for this repetitive reminder of the truth of how it is.
    Amen to this song, which is to say,
    RIGHT ON!!!

  3. Lisa G.

    As much as I truly love this song on the standard edition CD (it’s my husband’s favorite of all the songs, which is a tough choice, to say the least), I’ll say that the alternate version with just Jason’s voice and the piano is absolutely sublime. The vocals on both are beautiful, but the solo version vocal is exceedingly clear and rich and the emotion behind the song unmistakeable.

  4. Loren

    I was thinking up to this point that I could go for the regular album and resist the siren call of extended notes…but it won’t do. That alternate version of the song can’t be ignored.

  5. Kendra Dick

    I love this song. It is great.

    From the ruins
    From the ashes
    Beauty will rise
    From the wreckage
    From the darkness
    Glory will shine

    wow… that’s deep. its so real

  6. Lorretta Stembridge

    Thanks for the reply Jason! I was looking into the I-Tunes version for individual download…I guess it’s an “extra” track? I can’t purchase the whole she-bang tonight but if it’s on there maybe I can get it later. Awesome work Mr. Gray. Thankyou!

  7. Aimee

    Jason, thank you for this song. For so many who have suffered abuse and hurt, a resounding question often seems to remain, “Did God see what happened, does He care?” Of course as Believers we know the theological answer is yes, but what truly speaks it to our hearts is Psalm 56, and also now, this song.

    That simple reality is that even while our tears ran down, God saw and kept each one. Our hearts, and what has been been perpetrated against them, matters to God, He keeps account of each one, and–as you have so aptly sung–“Nothing is wasted, in the eyes of our Redeemer, nothing is wasted.”

    This has brought me healing that I didn’t even realize I needed at this point. So, thank you.

  8. Tenika Dye

    This song is really ministering to me! I already have the CD but I might need to give away and get the special edition for the alternate version! hmmm…Will the Special Edition be available at Hutchmoot by any chance?

  9. Zach

    Jason, the alternate version is beautiful! That bridge serves as a chorus to me, it really makes the entire song. Both versions are wonderful, but you’re right, the alternate version really captures the songwriter feel.

  10. carrie luke

    Nothing is Wasted(alternate version) is one of the most beautiful prayers set to music that I have ever heard. Thank you for including it.

    LOVE the new CD.

  11. Bob Smith

    Lyrics for alternate anywhere? They are each powerful. We would love to have a track to use to do this son — but don’t know which version. Hope you make it back to area soon (We saw you at Bemus Point UM Church -twice – and would like to help to have you in Erie PA soon… Bob

  12. Lorretta

    I’m with Bob….I’d love to have a tab chart or a track for the alternate. I’ve used this song twice in my bible study with a group of women who need this message: NOTHING is wasted when we LET God have it.

  13. Betty

    These lyrics have touched me so deeply . Its like I am singing and praising God for the comfort that He gives us and reassuring us that we are beautiful for Him and we are not wasted.
    I thank God for the many beautiful songs we hear from artists like you whom God has chosen to spread His message of Love, Peace and Comfort in times of struggle.

  14. Bonnie

    I hadn’t heard or maybe noticed this song before, but as I was driving around on Saturday I managed to hear it twice on K-Love. It spoke to me so deeply that I went home and found the words and printed them off and found a video of it that I thoroughly enjoyed. The timing of it was so good for me because today I had to go in to a court hearing to see the end of my 35 year marriage (which was not something I wanted to do, but He has used this whole process in growing me, and even this has not been wasted. ) The title is my new motto!

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