Walking Side by Side with God
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BLUE COUCH MOMENTS
Growing up as a preacher's kid, Matthew West figured he was fine spiritually since he was always at church. One day, after school he went to his favorite spot: the blue couch in the basement. He turned on the TV expecting to watch a baseball game. Instead, Billy Graham was preaching on TV. As Matthew listened to the message, he suddenly felt the power of God and realized he couldn’t ride his father’s coattails into heaven. He needed a personal relationship with Jesus. That day, at 13 years old, Matthew gave his life to Christ.
He explains, “The lesson is that it doesn’t have to be holy staircases in Rome or the Sistine Chapel or even the Baptist church on the corner; God presents ‘blue couch’ moments anywhere at any moment in our lives. And if we are open and attentive, we can be part of offering those ‘blue couch’ moments to others.”
COVID & CAREER
While in Trenton, NJ on March 12, 2020, Matthew was preparing for a concert. While doing a sound check, he received word that the city was shutting down due to the coronavirus, and their concert was canceled. Shocked and confused by what was happening, he called an uber driver to get back to the hotel. Sitting in the back of the car worrying about his family's safety, his safety, and all the people depending on him for their livelihoods, the Uber driver Arthur was singing along to "You're the God Who Stays" on the radio and it caught Matthews's attention.
Matthew joined in singing and when the song ended, Matthew asked Arthur how he sounded. Arthur responded, "Not so good." Matthew laughed and said, "Yeah, I guess you're right." Arthur shared why that song meant so much to him. He told Matthew that God had stayed with him through everything: the immigration to the U.S., the separation from his family back home, and his struggle to make money and survive. That encounter immediately shifted Matthew's perspective and he realized that no matter what, God would stay and help him and everyone else through it.
Matthew freely admits that he’s had some discouraging days and sleepless nights since the pandemic began, especially in light of so many of his shows being canceled. He not only provides for his own family, but he employs others, including his band, and, of course, work was sparse in 2020. Early on, Matthew decided to focus on what he could do. “God’s not one-dimensional, I’m not one-dimensional. I can do more than a tour or perform on a stage,” he explains.
As he took his concerns to the Lord, he got some ideas on how to use the time and help others. To give his band some work, he held virtual concerts in his studio and kept the price low so many viewers could enjoy some good music. He also released an Extended Play CD called Live Before The World Shut Down, recorded earlier this year before the pandemic closed the live entertainment industry. It includes the No. 1 singles "Nobody" and "The God Who Stays."
Matthew and his family also started hosting devotional times on social media called “Quarantine Quiet Time,” where they’d pray with and encourage people. Before long they had thousands of people taking part. Matthew and his dad, Jim West, a pastor of 38 years, continue this weekly time of prayer and worship.
Today, Matthew is back on tour and his latest song, “Me on Your Mind,” hit No. 1 on Billboard's Christian Airplay chart.
SWIMMING WITH SHARKS
After watching the movie “Jaws” Matthew grew up with an irrational fear of sharks. He would even get spooked if he saw something underwater in a pool. Fast forward years later, when his oldest daughter Lulu was turning 13, Matthew said he would take her on a trip to do whatever she wanted. To his dismay, she decided she wanted to swim with sharks.
When his daughter begged him to go shark diving with her, Matthew was so eager to spend quality time with her that he was willing to face the very thing that scared him the most. During the dive, the instructor told the group to keep ahold of the rope and stay together. At one point, Matthew turned around and couldn't see Lulu, his panic about losing her overtook his fear of sharks and he took off to find her.
Matthew explains, "Honestly, nothing was going to keep me from getting to Lulu. Maybe that’s the same kind of urgency God feels when you or I begin to drift away from Him. I think God is in Super Dad mode all the time. And that is another note in the chord of God’s love. He will go anywhere and cover any distance to be with you.”
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