Danny Gokey - Part One
It isn’t often that a story pretty much writes itself. However, in my interview with Danny Gokey, how he answered a couple of questions so profoundly, I cannot possibly express his answers any better than he did. So, I will let him tell you. Danny is a well-known Christian artist, and there is much more to him than nominations, awards and albums. He is a human being, just like everyone else. Being a celebrity is only a small part of who Danny is. Over the this column and the next, it is my goal to not only tell Danny’s story but to also share the impact that his story, his music, and his ministry is having on every day, ordinary people; such as myself. So, here is part one of Danny’s message.
When I asked Danny, “If I had you as a guest speaker on one of my [own] tours, and I handed you the microphone, and I let you take over the stage and say whatever you wanted, what would you say to my audience?” Danny replied:
“I think the thing that I would say to the audience in that moment... I think one of the best things you can tell people is that there's a specific purpose and a drawn-out plan for their life. And here's why that's important. People want to feel like they are seen, they are noticed, that they have a purpose to be here. And many people, when they don't find that purpose, they can tend to live life without a vision. The Bible talks about that, without a vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Meaning without the ability to see something bigger, they will settle for the smaller. And when you unpack that… how do you unpack that? You unpack that by telling them that God, the creator of the universe, the one who created the water, the wind, the sea, and the air, is the one that designed a plan for them and loves them with an everlasting love. With a love that never fails, with a love that sacrifices for them.
“I think when you establish that, that people are loved, and that God has grace for them, they tend to come up to a different level, and they tend to begin to look at life with purpose. So, that would be where I would take that microphone… to build them up, and to try to launch them out, so to speak, into the destiny that they have. Because when people live with a purpose, they look at other people with purpose. But when people look at life from a very selfish point of view, that there's nothing, get what you can, they begin to use other people and selfishly take advantage of them.”
A sense of purpose. That was something I personally lacked most of my life. It’s something I still struggle with. I think that a lot of people do. That’s the million-dollar question, right? What’s the point of being here? What is God’s purpose for my life? I typically don’t share anything about myself in the articles I write. However, I think that doing so, in this particular instance, may help others. First, however, you need to know a bit of my background with Danny. I first met Danny at a “Winter Jam” concert several years ago. After he autographed a CD for me, I told him that his song, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” saved my life.
“When I said that you saved my life, I mean literally. I was on the brink of suicide. I had already attempted suicide several times, and I was clinically dead several times. I got kicked back here, and people were like, “Oh, God must have a really special purpose for your life.” I'm like, “Well, I wish he'd clue me in on what that is.” I was just constantly living in the past. If only I'd done this, or I shouldn’t have done this, or if only I could change this. If I could go back in time, like in Back to the Future, and change so much, I would. I was just stuck in the past. There was a point in my life, I lost absolutely everything; including my children, my freedom- everything. The only friend that I had…he died. I just felt like God had taken absolutely everything from me. And I was one of those “invisible” people. I really didn't have friends or family that were involved with me, except for my mother. And I didn't really have anything to look forward to. I felt like God had just… abandoned me."
“Sometimes, I think it's easier to be an atheist, to just not believe in anything. But to know that there is a God, and that He's right there with you, and that He can do anything, but He's not… I mean, what would you say to people that are atheists because of that reason? Like, how can there be a loving God when people are dying every day, and little babies are dying, and people are starving. How can you believe in a God that would allow these horrible things to happen?”
Danny replied, “Here's how, because…it really is simple. And it took me a long time to understand this one. When you give man free will, if God takes any control in free will, it's not free will; it's control. And when bad things happen, sometimes people don't realize bad things are happening because you made a bad decision. I'm not talking about you, Melissa, I'm talking about people. So, when I say that, know that that's a general statement.
“And this is why…God, He gives free will. And then, this is what He says. He says, “I've given to you the blessing and cursing.” He says, “Choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) So, even God is saying, make a good decision. We're so connected that when we're selfish, we don't realize it affects everyone around us. ‘Well, this is me. This is how I want to live.’ Some people will say that excuse- ‘This is my life.’ Yeah, but your life, when it's selfish, actually hurts the people around you. And this is why there's responsibility in every single one of us to get knowledge, and get understanding, and get wisdom, and begin to live that out."
“A lot of people say everything happens for a reason. But that doesn’t mean it’s God's will. A lot of times, something bad happened because you or someone else made a bad decision. And I don't think people are grasping that. And I think there's a little bit [of] denial there because a lot of times we feel out of control. I've felt this. I've lived this. I don't know how to control. And this is where the Bible comes in, and the Word of God comes in, because it teaches us about how our actions have repercussions, and that making a right decision will begin to bless ourselves and bless other people around us.
“If God were to interfere and control things, then it's not free will, and we are robots. You know what I mean? God chooses to love us. Like I was reading in James the other day, He chose to love us. He chose us to give us His word and become the first-fruits of salvation (James 1:18). God didn't have to choose us. He could have chosen to just punish us, and chosen to torture us, but He didn't. He chose to love us. And so, we're just creating God's image when we make choices, too. It's why we have to make good choices.”
In my opinion, Danny makes some excellent points. Good choices most often lead to good consequences. Bad choices often lead to negative repercussions that have a ripple effect. They don’t just hurt us, they hurt those around us. They hurt our perspectives and our points-of-view, the way we perceive the world, and the people, around us. It can be very hard to reach out and love “the least of these”, especially those who have harmed us in one way or another. However, Danny reminds us that love is the answer to everything. If we only love one another, and have compassion, and think about how what we say and do will affect other people, this world would be a much better place.
In next month’s edition, I will share more of my exclusive interview with Danny Gokey, and reveal just a few ways in which Danny puts his own love for others into action.
Written by: Melissa Morgan