Wherever You Are
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2005 1 Nov
- Cry Out to Jesus
- I Can Feel It
- Keep on Shinin'
- Carry My Cross
- How Do You Know
- Mountain of God
- Love Heals Your Heart
- The Sun Is Shining
- Rise Up
Let's face it, 2005 has been a tough year—the continued war in Iraq, terrorism in London, the Asian tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. There have also been personal hardships for Third Day in the last year, as they've watched friends go through divorce and financial hardship, and three in the band have lost family members. All of this played into the development of an album that lead singer Mac Powell says is meant to offer comfort and peace to the suffering and heartbroken: "We want to convey that wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever you are going through, God is ready to meet you right there." Hence the title
The band's heart is in the right place. In light of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Third Day made "Cry Out to Jesus," their anthemic first single. It's understandably become Christian music's rallying cry for relief efforts, reminding listeners that no matter what the trial—death, divorce, affliction, loneliness, addiction, homelessness—Jesus is the answer: "There is grace and forgiveness/Mercy and healing/He'll meet you wherever you are."
Yet while song and album are both hopeful and well intentioned,
It's great that Third Day is trying to confront heavier subjects, but why boil them down so simply? Why not specifically wrestle with the topics of death, divorce, and natural disaster individually while interspersing songs of faith, hope, and responding to hardship in between? Instead, "The Sun Is Shining" makes
The draw is hearing these words and themes set to Third Day's sound, but that's the other chief weakness. After 2004's
Not that the album doesn't have its moments. "Carry My Cross" benefits from a good melody as it tells The Passion story through Christ's perspective, though lyrically it doesn't resonate as strongly as the band's signature "Love Song." With modest rocker "How Do You Know," Third Day addresses the unfortunate tendency of Christians to judge too harshly and hastily, though again, the words don't penetrate deep enough. "Keep on Shinin'" is admittedly catchy in its encouragement to use times of trial to share our faith, while "Communion" is admirable in its embrace of the liturgical, making it a simple and practical worship song that could find its way into churches of all kinds.
It's likely that much of Third Day's loyal fan base will still enjoy the album since it's encouraging, well produced, and in step with past material. But others may well view