Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae encouraged Christians to “draw near to God” in the midst of the distress and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering the reminder that believers have an “answer for the hopelessness and the worthlessness” the world is currently experiencing.
“I think a lot of times distress causes us to draw near to God,” the Grammy Award-winning rapper recently told host Gabe Lyons during the Q 2020 Virtual Summit, an annual event that equips Christian leaders to thoughtfully engage culture from a Christian worldview.
“I don't want to be caught trying to be overly productive or overly fearful,” he said. “I want to be caught surrendering and drawing near to God in the midst of distress, in the midst of a trying time.”
Lecrae referenced Jeremiah 29:11, which reads: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“All of this was in the midst of distress; it’s a great promise in the midst of a humongous problem,” he said, noting that when God spoke these words, the Israelites were in captivity.
“The challenge to them was to continue living, to build houses to start families,” he said. “I think for us, the call for us is to continue living, to say, ‘OK, I can't change the circumstance, but I can be changed in the midst of it. I can't run away from this, but I can walk through this with the people around me.’ I think that's what I'm called to do in this in this time period.”
The artist and bestselling author encouraged Christians to remember that followers of God have an “an answer for the hopelessness and the worthlessness that can become so prevalent,” adding: “If there was ever a time to not be ashamed, it’s during times of trial and tribulation when people are looking, literally searching for answers, searching for of validity and purpose and hope.”
Still, Lecrae highlighted the importance of using art to lament during these times of uncertainty, noting that throughout the Psalms, King David lamented through his art.
“Lamenting gives us a voice; almost a trajectory or a guideline that we can follow in a time of hurt and a time of pain,” he explained. “He was constantly talking to God. Even though he was sad he was talking to God.”
“Art gives us a chance to lament, but also gives us a chance to talk about scars that have healed, because my scars show a wounded world that healing is possible,” Lecrae continued. “Art allows us to point to toward a hope, both a literal earthly hope and an eternal hope. We can paint pictures of what life will look like after this, and paint pictures of what life will look like ultimately.”
“I think regardless of the genre, whether it's hip-hop pop rock country worship, whatever you want to call it, we are all made by an incredible Creator who's given us these unique gifts. And they're all redemptive, they're all His,” he added.
Lecrae is gearing up for the release of a new album titled Restoration, which he said was birthed out of the idea “that restoration is possible and we don't have to believe in the lie that all is lost.”
The “Set Me Free” singer encouraged other Christians to use the time of quarantine to explore creative expression, explaining “there’s something uniquely healing and restorative about creating.”
“It doesn't have to be music or paintings; it could be building a shelf, it could be just the expression coming out of us, especially in a time period where we're struggling to find a healthy narrative with everything going on around us,” he said. “A lot of times, art gives us an opportunity to express ourselves, or to appreciate the expression of a narrative that helps some things make sense.”
The annual Q conference was founded in 2007 by Gabe and Rebekah Lyons. The two-day event featured a number of influential thought leaders, pastors, and notable members of the Christian community.