Every time I leave home, I check my pockets to make sure I have the essentials. Phone? Check. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Guitar pick? Check. These are the things that I need to go about my daily business. If I want my car to start, then I need to have my keys with me. No keys, no car.
Now what if, instead of just checking my pockets, I also checked my soul. Peace? Love? Grace? Are they there? Because just as I need my keys to start my car, I need grace to live my life.
This song, “Grace Every Day”, started as a reflection on Psalm 51. I like to imagine that Psalm 51 is David’s opening statement in the court case of God vs. King David. Why should God forgive David for committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering Uriah? Well David is about to present the most convincing of arguments.
First: You’re a loving God, full of compassion (Psalm 51:1).
Second: I messed up (Psalm 51:3).
Third: Like really messed up, I committed evil against You so You are completely justified to judge me (Psalm 51:4).
Fourth: And it wasn’t just this time that I messed up. I’ve been sinful since my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5)!
We can imagine that if this were a human court, David’s lawyer would be shaking his head in frustration. Such a confession can only lead to a guilty verdict. But in God’s court, confession and repentance are the only way to reconciliation.
David could have tried to say, “look at all the battles I’ve won for you” or “look at how much I worship you”. Instead, he bows before God, confesses that God is a just, good, and holy judge then comes clean, acknowledging that God’s ways are right and that his own actions are evil.
“Grace Every Day” follows this two-part confession. First, in verse one, the singer confesses to breaking and losing pieces of the life that God has fashioned for them. This is a cry for the Christian who still sins and wonders “did I just mess up God’s plan for my life?”. If the Holy Spirit dwells inside of me and guides me then why do I still grieve Him so often?
Here, at the end of the verse, the lyrics turn to remind me that, just like with King David, my salvation is fully rooted in who God is and what He has done, not in what I have done or will do. Even though I have sinned, God’s mercies are new every morning. He still brings grace with the dawn.
The chorus brings us to the second part of confession, acknowledging the pure goodness of God. Who is God? He’s the good king, the just judge, the one who determines what is good and evil. What do I need? I need His grace because without it I have nothing.
Verse 2 started as a word study but became deeply personal when my daughter was born. The word in question is the Hebrew word “hevel”. In Ecclesiastes, some translations render it as “vanity” but the real word picture is that it is a “breath” or a “vapor”. When the word “hevel” is used I picture a breath on a cold morning. It puffs out, visible for just a second, before scattering, vanishing to nothing. I thought to myself, “hey, this is a great way to describe my life if God were to ever stop sustaining me”
Then in July of 2021 my daughter, Lily, was born a month early. At first she seemed to be perfectly healthy but as my wife held our new baby girl the nurses realized that Lily’s lungs weren’t working right. We would spend a week in the NICU and the lines “Oh Father I need you like air in my lungs. Your breath keeps my voice crying out” took on a new meaning as I cherished each time Lily would cry.
To tie everything together the bridge is a restatement of the verses and the chorus but with one, crucial, additional detail. Not only is God good, and not only am I fallen, but I am in desperate need of a Savior. This whole song is a confession that I will never be good enough to earn my way into heaven (or “The Home That He Has Promised” if you will). My good deeds will never make up for my sins. Instead, I need a Savior. I need God Himself to give me His grace every day. No keys, no car. No grace, no life.
For those who are wondering, after that week in the NICU Lily’s lungs were strong. Now, a year later, I get to cherish every “dada”, “mama”, and “I want baba (bottle)”. I also want to say “thank you” to Matt Merker and Jordan Kauflin. I may not have taken all of your advice on this piece but the feedback you two gave through the Getty’s Hymn Writers Collective helped shape “Grace Every Day” into the song it is today.
Looking back, considering how these lyrics have grown, it is clear to me that God has been pouring His grace over my life every day. I can say with full confidence “Keys? Check. Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Guitar pick? Check. Grace? Check” and I pray this song helps you do the same.
By Dan Loch