BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Todd Agnew: Do You See What God Sees?
By Hannah Goodwyn
Singer/songwriter Todd Agnew wants you to let the Bible come alive. That is why he’s worked so hard to get Do You See What I See?, his third CD, produced. This new project focuses on the Christmas story, but it’s much more than just another holiday album.
Each original song tells the story of Christ’s birth from each person’s perspective, from the angel's glorious news to the heavenly sight the shepherds saw in the field that night. Todd wanted to dig deeper into the story and really examine how each one responded to God’s plan of how He would send His Son to this world. Reflecting on it not just from a superficial point of view but through God’s eyes, Todd began to see how each person’s life was forever changed.
“They were just normal people that got thrown into this whirlwind of the Messiah coming to earth,” Todd says. “So it’s just the story of what happens when real people encounter a real God and have Him intervene in their lives.”
Most people know the basics – after trekking for months in the wilderness to Bethlehem, a young virgin named Mary birthed Jesus, God’s Son, in a lowly stable because there was no room in the inn.
But the story can become more like a tale, than a true story about flesh-and-blood people, like us, whose lives were radically altered by God. Have you ever really thought about Joseph during this whole ordeal? Well, Todd Agnew has. And he’s excited to share what God has been showing him through these songs.
“Each one of their stories is completely different,” Todd explains. “The story of Joseph is the one that fascinated me. I just realized how much I had overlooked in his story. And the more I dug into it, the more I realized there’s a deeper truth behind all of their stories.”
Take a second look at the beginning of Jesus’ life. An angel visited Mary, telling her that she would carry God’s own Son, and that she’d conceive through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.
“I just realized how little we talk about Joseph. He’s just kind of a side character. Mary was the chosen one, and Joseph just kind of got to be a part of the story. And we assume that he kind of just went along with the flow,” Todd says. “But you look at him, being a guy and what it would have been like for me, and realizing that the love of his life walked up and told him that she was pregnant with somebody else’s kid.”
Now, how’s Joseph supposed to react to this divine news? His bride-to-be is with child!
“His heart was shattered. He was broken over this. I can’t imagine how upsetting that was for him. And then she goes, ‘Oh, but it’s OK. It’s the Messiah.’ I always just assumed he went, ‘Oh, all right,’ and jumped back in. But he didn’t. The Bible very clearly states that he was going to divorce her. He didn’t believe her when she told him the truth. He thought she cheated on him, and now she’s lying to him. And so he was going to divorce her, until God sent the angel.”
So God’s messenger eventually clears up some things for Joseph, and the couple’s relationship is saved.
“At that point, you have to be mad at God because all He had to do was send the angel a week earlier and everything would have been fine,” Todd says. “[Joseph’s] heart wouldn’t have been broken. His life wouldn’t have been shattered. But, God didn’t do that.”
It’s hard to understand at times why things happen when they do. All that can be done is either trust that God knows what He’s doing or blame Him for the heartache.
“[The angel] just says this is what you need to do. And then you see so much of the character in Joseph in that he picks up and does it,” Todd explains. “After all this heartbreak, all these life-shattering moments, he still says, ‘OK, if that’s what I’m supposed to do, then that’s what I’m going to do.’”
Having such strong faith in God’s perfect plan is why Joseph’s story so powerfully touched Todd Agnew’s life.
“Joseph had all his dreams for his life just like everyone does … and all his plans, and all his wants and desires. And he gave up all of those things to be a part of this story, to be obedient of the call that God had laid on him without explaining what’s going on. Not understanding the whole picture, he puts it all aside and latches onto the dream that God has for him.”
The Lord saw the potential Joseph and Mary had in being obedient to His plan. Even today, He sees our present and future much more than our human eyes can. That’s why it’s so important to let God into every day by studying the Bible and letting the stories speak to you. Take a step back and see how He powerfully intervenes to change the course of history.
“I’m hoping that people will just grab a hold of it and just say, ‘Wow, look at this one simple story, just a few chapters of the Bible, and how it comes to life when you read it as if they’re real people.’ And then to realize they’ve got the whole rest of the Bible that they get to read, and allow God to stir that in their own hearts,” Todd says.
In reexamining Joseph’s story, Todd is more determined to allow Christ to direct his story. Giving Him control has given Todd such a great peace in his heart because he knows God has only the best for his life.
“Now, I can just kind of work on my own personal relationship with Him in my own life,” Todd says. “Let Him handle [the future], and we’ll just get up each morning and do whatever He has for us.”
Todd wrote these songs to teach others about God’s love and awesome power. Joseph’s song, “This is All I Have to Give,” gives us just a little bit of insight into what he must have been thinking as he fathered Jesus, the son of God.
What can I offer you, my son, when you’re the living,
Joseph made a clear decision to follow in God’s plan for his life, and leave his own dreams behind. Our life is all any of us have to give our Creator.
breathing proof of everything I hoped could possibly be true.
This is all I have to give.
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