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Send Out Your Light Author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | Jun 28th

Why did you write this book? What inspired you to write it?

I wrote this book to bear witness to God’s light. I was invited to tell my story here in a format longer than a 3 minute song. I’ve been a songwriter for a long time. When it came down to writing a book, I wanted to write about why I sing and write songs. I do this work because God’s light gives us the ability to see what we could not have seen before. He brings order out of chaos, just like in the beginning of the Genesis story. He gives meaning to our struggles, illuminating our path by his word. 

For whom did you write this book?

I wrote this book for budding songwriters, worship leaders, weary parents, retired pastors, missionaries in the field, young people in school still figuring out who they are, lovers of Bob Dylan and books, for doubters and for seekers. While I was writing I was especially thoughtful of my own children and hope that these words give them a fuller picture a life that is shaped by Scripture in all the ups and downs. I hope it calls each reader to sing the song that God puts in their heart.

You wrote a song titled “Send Out Your Light (Psalm 43).” How does this book expand on the message you shared in the lyrics of this song?

“Send Out Your Light” (the song) is simply a word-for-word setting of Psalm 43. The song doesn’t really add any commentary of what the psalm means but the song holds close to the Psalm text. The book, Send Out Your Light  is an expanded testimony of how Psalm 43 has given me a frame where I have been able to express my calling from God, back to God. The Psalms speak to us uniquely and faithfully in line with the character of God and the way he has revealed himself to believers from one generation to the next. This book is just one of many stories that give a personal account of his grand redemptive story.

How do you resonate personally with this invitation from God to send out your light?

From a young age, I have studied the craft of songwriting and music. And in all those practice hours, in childhood scripture memorization, in theology books and hymnals, I have been increasingly compelled to give all these gifts back to God through songs of praise, through songs of gospel imagination for my community and for the hope of the world. On one hand, this is my own calling, but really, this is the calling of the whole church to take what we have out into the world and to participate in the building of the kingdom. “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy. Then I will praise him with all my heart, Oh my joy, my joy.” This verse in Ps 43 is the refrain of gratitude. Each one of us has been invited to bring what we bring and to offer it back to God. He sends us his light and we send it back out.

What role do Scripture and song play in responding to this invitation? How do Scripture and songs work together?

Scripture gives us the good news. Scripture tells the truth from start to finish. It inspires us with hope and it is alive by the Spirit of God in a way that no other book could be. And from the perspective of one girl who happens to be a songwriter, I see the way that songs are woven throughout Scripture and the way they jump right of the story with exclamation and doxology. God has given us songs and he keeps giving us new songs.

Talk about what you mean by “the dark night of the soul.” How does this book provide encouragement for those walking through this?

Inevitably, we all will come up against suffering of one kind or another. We cannot escape the effects of the fall that extend from the garden. But we are not alone in the dark. Darkness is not dark to God and he has made a way to carry us, to stay with us all through the valley of the shadow. I hope this book will put words of comfort to that theological reality in a way that is accessible to people when they need it.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope readers will have a deeper awareness of the friendship of God and assurance through the Scriptures and songs to know and believe that they are not alone. God gives us his light and truth and by this light he leads us on and sends us out.