Perseverance

“The Promise” by Chris Cornell

If I had nothing to my name
But photographs of you
Rescued from the flames
That is all I would ever need
As long as I can read
What’s written on your face
The strength that shines
Behind your eyes
The hope and light
That will never die

And one promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
As we’ve always done

And you said
“The poison in a kiss
Is the lie upon the lips”
Truer words were never shared
When I feel
Like lies are all I hear
I pull my memories near
The one thing they can’t take

And one promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
As we’ve always done

The books still open on the table
The bells still ringing in the air
The dreams still clinging to the pillow
The songs still singing in a prayer

Now my soul
Is stretching through the roots
To memories of you
Back through time and space
To carry home
The faces and the names
And these photographs of you
Rescued from the flames

And one promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
And dare to rise once more
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
And fill the world with life
As we’ve always done

“The promise to survive, persevere and thrive and fill the world with life as we’ve always done.”  Chris Cornell, who penned this incredible song just a few months before his untimely death by suicide, was asked to write this for the movie of the same name.  The movie was about relational dynamics that become intense as the Armenian genocide in WWI occurs.  Such senseless slaughter, such disdain of life, such disregard of fellow human beings.  Even in the face of such reckless hatred and evil, make the promise to “survive, persevere and thrive.”
The song fit the movie well I suppose but I suspect it was also largely autobiographical.  I believe it was the desire from the heart of Chris Cornell, the former Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman with enormous talent and enormous demons.  I believe he was trying to convince himself that the promise to survive, persevere and thrive was worth the effort.  Unfortunately, he came to the realization only a few months later that he couldn’t keep his promise to himself, his family, his friends.  He just couldn’t survive, persevere and thrive any more.  Survive, persevere and thrive to what end?  To fame, fortune, adulation, power, whatever you want?  In the end Chris Cornell followed the logic to its bitter end:  life without Jesus, no matter how rich and famous and successful one is, is devoid of meaning and purpose.  Therefore, the only logical choice in such a life that will not bow the knee to Jesus is to extinguish it.  Life without Jesus is hopeless, empty, frightening, utterly filled with despair.  The solution in such a life-less prison of a life:  turn to Jesus in repentance and submission to His will OR end it all.  Why do so many people choose the latter, choose to end it all, one way or another, when freedom from despair, purposelessness, and meaninglessness is only a prayer away?
“I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10b HCSB).  Jesus showed up on this earth 2000 plus years ago in order that we, His creations, would have the opportunity to choose life and have it in abundance.  Life to the full – not just survive, not just persevere, but to THRIVE – that is why Jesus came.
Chris Cornell said it rightly:  we are on this earth to survive, persevere and thrive.  Unfortunately, he ended his life before he plugged in to the only power source capable of enabling ultimate survival, perseverance, and thriving in this life and in the life to come:
                               JESUS CHRIST
Ultimately, we can’t rely on any human promises.  We are all weak, we all fail at one time or another.  It’s not for us to rely on our promises; it is for us to rely on the promises that will never fail, the promises of God, e.g. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b NIV).
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