Story Behind The Song: Refugee
It was my fifth trip to Northern Iraqi Kurdistan. I had found myself yet again in this strange country with a strange language, strange at least for a born-and-bred American boy who could count on one hand his trips outside the States. How I got there was as curious to me as anyone else who asked.. what was it about this war-torn country that was so compelling?
From the start, it was a love story. In 2014 a friend of mine reached out one September afternoon by text, a kind-of cryptic text: Northern Iraq, 100 hours of prayer, ISIS, no guarantees, free plane ticket, let me know.
One thing led to another, and I woke up in the Middle East in my mid-thirties realizing this was a different life trajectory than I could have guessed in my twenties. As I began to realize what was happening during that first and fateful whirlwind trip, that my heart was opening up to a place, a people, a purpose.. and as I began to listen to stories of tragedy and loss that i could not comprehend, I saw faces weathered by the sun, creased by sorrow and sadness, sharing what little they had with me, a foreigner, even as they were strangers in their own land, a people who no longer had a home.
And as if a dam broke within me I saw the beauty of the incarnation, the salvation story that was nice and pretty in the West, but in reality was dirty, painful and completely absurd. God, born to parents who would spend their first 8 married years as refugees, raising a refugee son, a son that was but wasn't their own, the Son of God. And from this panorama of the Gospel before me, the song Refugee was born.