The Hidden Face of God
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Apr
- Come Lift Up Your Sorrows
- Older Than the Rain
- The Hidden Face of God
- The Silence of God
- Walk with Me, Lord
- How Long?
- To a Broken God
- Tears of the World
- We Are Not Scattered Strangers
- O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
- I Will Not Walk Away
He's released more than twenty albums in his illustrious twenty-five year career, consistently proving himself as a skilled songwriter and musician. But the thing I've come to appreciate most about Michael Card is not necessarily his music, but rather the way he smartly focuses his work on a single subject. Approaching a Card album is like settling into a devotional from your favorite Christian author. Beyond loosely tying together a collection of songs under a theme, you can rest assured that this 49-year-old veteran will thoroughly expound upon an overall thesis and give the listener something to consider long after the last track has played.
Such was the case with 2003's dissertation on the Apostle Peter,
It is thus Card's contention with this album (and his 15th book of the same title, releasing in early 2007) that God welcomes not only our thankfulness and praise, but also our sorrow and doubt, because lament typically leads to closer worship and communion with our Creator. And though he may not always grant our requests or answers to questions, we learn in time that it's enough to trust and rely on God's goodness and sovereignty.
That insight is nothing new in the context of a book or a sermon, but it is relatively rare in a framework such as this album. Card appropriately sets the stage with the encouraging invitational "Come Lift Up Your Sorrow," a soft and slow gospel number that speaks directly to the broken: "If you are wounded, and if you're alone/If you are angry, if your heart is cold as stone/If you have fallen and if you are weak/Then come find the worth of God that only the suffering seek." The beautiful ballad "The Silence of God" poignantly summarizes the album, thoughtfully observing that apparent indifference from God is one of the hardest things to endure: "It'll drive a man crazy, it'll break a man's faith/It's enough to make him wonder if he's ever been sane." Card also makes a great point with the simple piano ballad "To a Broken God," recognizing that our Lord also experiences sorrow—"I was unaware how it is with a broken God/I thought of You as above my pain/Lost in my despair, so it is with a broken heart/I never dreamed You could feel the same."
Of course, Card's thoughtful discourse is still matched with his familiar blend of inspirational pop and folk, most reminiscent of Dan Fogelberg, Keith Green, and Steve Bell. This is an artist who's equally comfortable with delivering a gently sweeping piano and orchestra arrangement of the Lenten hymn "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" as he is playing a banjo for a cover of the spiritual "Walk with Me Lord" (sung by pastor friend Denny Denson) that resembles the