God of Wonders

by Lindsay Terry

"Lord of all creation
Of water, earth, and sky
The heavens are Your tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on high."

From "God of Wonders" by Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong; cf. Psalm 19:1.

God of Wonders" was relayed by Mission Control, on a January day in 2003, to the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia, as they orbited the Earth. Back came an answer from Rick Husband, an ardent Christian and commander of the space crew: "Good morning. Thank you. We can really appreciate the lyrics of that song up here. We look out the window and see that God truly is a God of wonders!"

A few days later, on Feb. 1, 2003, following the flaming destruction of the shuttle as it reentered the atmosphere, President Bush declared to the world, "In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see, there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, Lift your eyes and look on the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.'

"The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home."

Here is the story behind the song which meant so much to Rick Husband. Its creation was a joint effort by Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong in 1999.

As a California lad, only six years of age, Steve Hindalong saw a painting of Jesus knocking at a door. He was told that it represented Jesus knocking at our heart's door. He went to his mother and said, "I want Jesus to come into my heart." She helped him to understand, and he prayed and asked Christ to come in.

He wrote his first song at age eleven, and later played with youth music groups at his church, all the while wanting to become a lyricist. Many of you may remember him as a member of a touring Christian music group, The Choir.

Marc Byrd was born and raised in Eldorado, Arkansas. He is a self-taught musician who started playing guitar at age thirteen. He didn't begin his songwriting ventures until he was a student at Applied Life Christian College in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

After his college days and following several years of touring with a Christian band, Common Children, he came to a crossroads in his life. "I didn't know what the future held for me or even where the next penny was coming from," he told me. "So, I grabbed my Bible on a Friday in 1999, and spent the entire weekend reading the Psalms, accompanied only by my guitar. I basically spent those days restoring my life to the place where I was when I first came to the Lord. It was a time of singing to God with a childlike heart.

"Worship always brings peace and healing to me. I believe we were created for that purpose. The beginning of God of Wonders' came out of the Psalms during that weekend. I had the music and a few phrases, one of which was You are holy.'"

Steve Hindalong continued the story one afternoon, as I was interviewing him: "Marc brought me the music for God of Wonders' during the time that I was beginning to do an album called City on a Hill, a worship project. He strummed the chord progressions to me and the hair stood up on my arms. It gave me a chill. It just felt really vast to me. To this point most of my songs were introspective and personal, but I told Marc, This song sounds to me as if it should be like... God of wonders, beyond all galaxies.' That was my reaction to the feeling the music gave me.

"It took several days, working together, to finish the song. I mostly wrote the lyrics and he mostly wrote the music. We had often worked closely on projects. We were like brothers and had written a lot of songs together."

"God of Wonders" was first recorded in 2000, on the City on a Hill album. Since then scores of artists have recorded it, among whom was Steve Green. It has gone like a meteor around the world in several languages. Choirs, praise teams, and church congregations world-wide have made it one of their favorite worship songs. Christian Copyright Licensing International places it among the top eight songs used by churches in the United States and Canada.

Marc, Steve and their families attend St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in the Nashville area. Steve is active in the church's worship music ministry. They both continue to write songs and produce projects for other artists. On occasions they also still minister with touring groups.

Reflection

The lyrics of this song bring us to the glorious realization that we serve and are loved by a God of wonders. Though He created and controls all the universes beyond our galaxy, He also cares for you and me as though we were the only ones in His keeping. And we can call on Him at any time.

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