What a beautiful evening it was!!!! “For King And Country” was playing at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and My daughter, Sarah and her husband Damian and all three of their daughters came with me to hear this truly gifted group. Luke and Joel Smallbone with a great supporting band and brother, Daniel’s awesome light-show were indeed a tour de force. The experience was a feast of great songs , percussive, power and a light show that continually transported you to fascinating emotional images smartly serving the storyline. It was an evening of theatrical contrast and messages of relevant spiritual import. I watched my daughter and her children, the row of young girls in front of us, probably in college, all transfixed on that stage.
I was so graciously given six tickets from the group’s father, David Smallbone. Our families have a history that extends back to when they first arrived here from Australia. We have really not seen each other a great deal since the early days , but have continued to love them from a distance. This familial entourage has become one of the most influential voices for young Christians…. but it didn’t start out that way.
David was offered a music industry job in America and the whole family (now seven children) packed up to move with him. Unfortunately, the job soon fell through. With no money to return to Australia, the family began to do odd jobs together such as cleaning houses. Through the next two years, they lived on prayer and not much else. Someone gave them keys to a van and another person paid the bills for the youngest Smallbone child, Libby, to be born in a hospital. It was during this time of duress that our families intersected with each other.
This clan, like the Phoenix, literally has risen from the ashes through perseverance, hard work and listening to the voice of the Lord. One of my bible study buddies, Rod Huff worked with them on the film, “Priceless.” He told me he has never encountered more hard working people in his life. This film on human trafficking was greatly funded by the Smallbones and they acted in the production as well.
The oldest Smallbone sister, Rebecca St. James was the first of the family to rise to national attention in the Contemporary Christian genre. Both Rebecca and For King and Country have been awarded all manner of Grammy, Dove, gold and platinum status. However, it has never been an award that drives them…it is their belief in the message of faith they bring.
In their concert they uphold the dignity of women, challenge the men to respect women, and are extremely vulnerable as they talk about issues of addiction and redemption. I couldn’t wish for my granddaughters to hear anything more important in this stage of their lives than what was spoken at this concert. We sat there, three generations of us, absolutely engaged by the presentation. That in and of itself speaks volumes to why this group remains so successful.
Their story of trials and accomplishment reminds me of a Wayne Watson lyric I love so well.
(From “A Beautiful Place”)
And the unspoiled beauty of the wisdom of God
Lies in the wilderness
Up there beyond the easy reach
Where the journey takes a little more faith I guess
Mistakes and misfortunes will come and go
But to try and to fail, it’s no disgrace
Sometimes a rough and a rocky road
Can take you to a beautiful place.