This was my first analysis of a song that I wrote. I have a deep love for this developed from when I went to camp when I was young. I feel that the words of the song define it. Also, it is great practice for exegesis in general.
This song is Fade to Grey by Jars of Clay. Notoriously difficult to understand, I was only able to understand it at all because he gave meaning to a dilemma that a friend of mine was going through. He was going through a bout of self condemnation, and when thinking about this, Fade to Grey came on my playlist, and suddenly made sense to me. Here is my analysis of Fade to Grey, originally published April 21st 2004:
Analysis of Fade to Grey
Oh its not hard to know what you're thinking, when you look down on me now
Well, what is He thinking, "Yeah that guy's a sinner". This is a statement of someone who is frustrated with a sin they just committed.
Your trance of love is seeking, To turn this world around
God is trying to end sin.
But in my state of blind confusion, No god can pull me out
This is an obvious untrue statement. God can pull him out. But he feels that he is so sinful that there is nothing anyone can do to ever make him righteous.
But then I see Your love is willing, To turn me inside out
The idea that God wants to make such an unworthy vessel righteous is not something that is automatically apparent. It's something that he had to realise.
It's in despair that I find faith summons the night to bow down to day
He only truly finds faith when he's at his most desperate points.
When ignorance is bliss won't You save me from myself
Stop me from becoming complacent in my sin, and allowing myself to avoid learning more about You because I'm afraid of what it might do
And then i see You there with Your arms opened wide and you try to embrace me
In my most sinful moments, I then see You, and You are still loving me, and trying to get me to come to You
These lonely tears I cry, they keep me in chains and I wish they'd release me
Tears of self-condemnation. This line is the key. When you are crying about your sin, and allowing your recognition of your depravity to overwhelm you, it binds you. It chains you up because it stops you from seeing all of the good that God has done with you, and it blinds you from what God is trying to do with you right now.
Cold is the night but colder still is the heart made of stone turned from clay
Basic line about a hardened heart. If a heart is unwilling to change, then it becomes useless to God. If you constantly look towards who you were, and stay thinking of yourself in terms of your sin, then you have a stone heart, one that cannot be molded. For if you focus on what was, how can you ever see what you can become.
And if you follow Me you'll see all the black, all the white fade to grey
Yes, it is easy for one to recognise that one isn't pure, that they are not white. But one must also realize that after we except Christ, we are no longer black. We are involved in a process of God turning us from black corroded being to being pure and white. We are not either righteous or sinful. We are sinful beings who are becoming righteous, and we must rest in the faith that God will continue that good work in us.