After recently reading Christianity Today's Mixed Review of Hillsong Australia's most recent CD, "This is Our God", I decided to buy a mere two songs off Itunes instead of purchasing the whole CD. No sooner had I clicked the purchase button on the song "Healer", a second search revealed a breaking story on the song's gifted writer. Not only has he this week just confessed to a long-term addiction, but the cancer from which he had supposedly been suffering as he's been singing in recent months also turns out to have also been a complete hoax.
The response in the blogosphere has been considerable this week. Here's an entry from My Latreia I felt was especially poignant: "I felt saddened by the news but at the same time, the realization of how frail we are really came to me. No one but our Lord, Jesus, has resisted the Great Tempter...How fallible our sinful nature has made us. And yet, we should be encouraged by this incident and be reminded how God truly is graceful and forgiving." I encourage you to read the rest of the post here as well as some of the other posts linked above.
I didn't get around to listening to the song I bought until after I read a few blog responses, press releases, and a youtube video. Having now finally listened to the song a few times, I still have to conclude that, in spite of all the sin and self-deception which ensued, the song was God-inspired. Jesus Christ, our Healer, is truly alive!
I've been an occasional fan of Hillsongs Australia since before I first came to Taiwan back in 1997, and God has used several of their songs to comfort and encourage me in hard times, but this incident is just another reminder that as we come to God in worship, we lean not on fuzzy feelings or a high-charged worship concert atmosphere, but on our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Solid Rock, lived out in a small community of relationships (not necessarily a megachurch) in which one can know and be known by others.
Yes, the writer was suffering from an illness as he penned this God-inspired song. Just not the illness he fabricated later as a cover-up. May God's people deal with him mercifully, and may Jesus heal him as he continues to heal and work in all of us who are broken.