Late in October of this year I attended my seventh Switchfoot show, this time in Jackson, Mississippi. They were taking audience requests, and the song “Vice Verses” was requested. This song causes me to reflect deeply on the conflict between living for today and living for eternity.
Walking along the high tide line
Watching the Pacific from the sidelines
Wonder what it means to live together?
Looking for more than just guidelines
Looking for signs in the night sky,
Wishing that I wasn’t such a nice guy
Wonder what it means to live forever?
Wonder what it means to die?
Every summer for the last seven years, our family has gone to San Diego to begin our annual family mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico. The difference between the prosperity of the United States and the poverty of Mexico amazes me. Why am I blessed? Why was I born here and not there? How do decisions I make affect eternity? These questions just lead me to more questions.
I know that there’s a meaning to it all
A little resurrection every time I fall
You got your babies, I got my hearses
Every blessing comes with a set of curses
I got my vices, got my vice verses
I got my vice verses
Before we go to Mexico, we always plan a trip to the beach. The Pacific Ocean is anything but calm. Its waves are rough and powerful. I sit on the beach and see that power. The crashing waves tell a story. They remind me I’m here to make a difference. They tell me I choose how the power in my life affects others. Will I be a blessing? Will I live a life of selfish ambition? Will I be a force for justice? I pause because I know I don’t have answers.
The wind could be my new obsession
The wind could be my next depression
The wind goes anywhere it wants to
Wishing that I learned my lesson
The ocean sounds like a garage band
Coming to me like a drunk man
The ocean tells me a thousand stories
None of them are lies
How should I live in this vast uncertainty? I cross over to Mexico and I spend three days living around poverty. I ask questions, but don’t get answers. I see a dichotomy of peace and pain in the eyes of families we serve. I realize the pain of this world will always exist. I realize my responsibility is to listen and respond.
God is always speaking, but he doesn’t always answer. My obedience to staying uncomfortable is all that is required. The ripple of my actions through eternity will never be known this side of Heaven.
Let the Pacific laugh
Be on my epitaph
With its rising and falling
And after all, it’s just water
And I’m just soul
With a body of water and bones
Water and bones
Where is God in the city life?
Where is God in the city light?
Where is God in the earthquake?
Where is God in the genocide?
Where are you in my broken heart?
Everything seems to fall apart
Everything feels rusted over
Tell me that you’re there
At the end of the day, it’s a question of trust. Is God who he says he is? Is He good when I see pain? The world I see doesn’t change His nature, but perhaps I’m part of the puzzle, brought here to bring His love and peace to His children.