There is a hope
I particularly enjoyed writing this song, as the melody really was a collaborative process. Usually I find with co-writes that someone comes with a melody idea that is almost complete, and it just needs a tweak here and there to be finished. In this case, Mark came with a number of fantastic melodic lines, but they didn't quite seem to flow together. So I found myself inserting little melodic ideas that linked them, and as we each sat in turn at the piano the song acquired a flow and a shape that worked really well.
We also set ourselves a challenge: to make every musical phrase different from the others. It occurs in a handful of well-known hymns (Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, Jerusalem), but not many and it certainly is very different from the kind of hymns Keith and I write. It also makes it a bit harder for congregations to learn! But I hope it is worth the effort...
Lyrically, I had wanted to write a song about hope for a long time, as I felt it was a much misunderstood aspect of the Christian life. Hope plays a huge part in all of our lives, but the sad fact is that many of the things we put our hope in, even as Christians, are insubstantial and uncertain - a better job, recovery from illness, success for our children, and so on. But none of them come with any guarantees.
Christian hope is different. It deals with things we haven't received yet, but we can be absolutely certain we will get them! The hope that no matter how dark and difficult life gets, Christ will always be there with us; the hope that one day we will see Him face to face. These are future certainties that lift our heads and give us real hope and confidence in life.
There is a hope that burns within my heart,
That gives me strength for every passing day;
A glimpse of glory now revealed in meagre part,
Yet drives all doubt away:
I stand in Christ, with sins forgiven;
And Christ in me, the hope of heaven!
My highest calling and my deepest joy,
To make His will my home.
There is a hope that lifts my weary head,
A consolation strong against despair,
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit,
I find the Saviour there!
Through present sufferings, future's fear,
He whispers 'courage' in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms,
And they will lead me home.
There is a hope that stands the test of time,
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
And every longing satisfied.
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
For I am truly home