Writing

The 80’s, Peter Gabriel, and God

We recently got a free trial of Sirius XM satellite radio and so I have been traveling back in time listening to songs from past, especially from the 1980’s. It’s amazing how a single song can suddenly bring-you-back [for better or for worse] to a moment in time, an event, relationships, sights, sounds, etc. Music is a very powerful medium!

Growing up, I think that I have always looked “deeper” into songs, trying to find “hidden” or even “spiritual” messages or meanings. Since becoming a Christian at 18 years old, my “discernment antenna” has definitely gone up when listening to music.

Traveling back now through satellite radio and hearing “popular” songs from when I was a teen in the 1980s, I can honestly say that I still shake my head at times. After all, we had oddities like Kajagoogoo, Men Without Hats, Devo [men wearing weird hats], “Pass the Dutchie,”and [insert odd 80’s band or music video here]. Oh well, don’t worry, be happy because it’s still rock and roll to me.

Anyway, as I listened to XM the other day, a familiar song came on that I really took a closer listen to. It was Peter Gabriel’s 1986 hit song, In Your Eyes. Now, for me, I liked Peter Gabriel. His voice was really cool and different and his songs had strange substance to them. Add to the fact that this song [In Your Eyes] was the over-arching soundtrack theme to the classic 1989 teen drama film, Say Anything, and I was hooked. Hey, after all, what teenage guy in 1989 didn’t desire to be John Cusack, dressed in an overcoat, holding up that blaring boombox, trying to impress “that girl?” …Okay, I digress.

Listening to In Your Eyes the other day, I wondered if perhaps Peter Gabriel’s message was deeper than simply a surface-level “love song” geared towards Rosanna Arquette? What if his message was actually [perhaps indirectly] a spiritual message about a relationship with God? After all, Peter Gabriel did help form the band, Genesis, right?

Okay, all hokeyness aside, let’s dig a little deeper. Here are the lyrics to the song, In Your Eyes:

In Your Eyes
by Peter Gabriel

Love, I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass, and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

All my instincts, they return
And the grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

In your eyes
The light the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
The heat I see in your eyes

Love, I don’t like to see so much pain
So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look…
—————————————————

As I read these lyrics, I can’t help but think of something out of the Bible. Perhaps a jambalaya mix from the book of Job, the Psalms, and Ecclesiastes. Here is someone who feels lost and empty, but still knows, deep down, the [One] who he needs to return to in order to be complete. This person realizes that he is wasting his time on fruitless searches. His strivings are empty, his grand facades will soon burn, and he is tired. His desire is to be made complete and he needs the light in order for that to happen.

I also look back at my own life through this song. I was lost and had way too many “fruitless searches” that just ended up wasted and empty. My grand facades, so soon they burned. My pride needed to be set aside and I needed to reach out, from the inside. I needed the Light. — I needed Jesus Christ. He is the doorway whose love is perfect and is the only One who could make my life complete. No “earthly love” or relationship would ever be able to do this.

I re-read the lyrics of this song again, with new eyes. This time, I inserted “God” as the main person that Peter Gabriel is singing about. And I listened again, with new ears. Yeah, it makes you think twice about this song, about life, and about our need for God.

If I could Say Anything to you in closing [pun/reference intended], it is this: I want you to know that God loves you and desires to have a personal relationship with you, through Jesus Christ. Everything else is simply a fruitless search and a grand facade that soon will burn. It is only through a relationship with Jesus where you will be made complete…in His eyes.

God bless,
Will Hoyler

Gabriel, Peter (1986). In Your Eyes. From the album So. Charisma Records.

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