Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Matthew West revealed the compelling story behind his new song, "Wonderful Life."
Matthew West told The Christian Post that the story is based on a fan named Ron Janca, from Houston, Texas, who recently succumbed to a three-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is more commonly known as the Lou Gehrig's disease. West disclosed that Janca particularly reached out to him to express gratitude for his songs and to share his story.
West, who is a Grammy Award-nominee and Dove Award-winner, has been known for composing songs based on the lives of people who inspired him. West's song, "Hello, My Name Is," from the 2012 album, "Into The Light," was based on the story of a man who introduced himself to the singer as a drug addict. "Forgiveness," on the other hand, is included in the same album and conveys the story of Renee. West said he read about the story of Renee who forgave 24-year-old drunk driver Eric for the death of her daughter in 2001 in a car accident.
As for "Wonderful Life," West shared that Janca spent his final days in hospice and reached out to him regarding the song "Strong Enough," which he asked to be played every morning by the nurses. West said he was moved by that story that he wanted to meet Janca. He stressed expecting to give Janca comfort in their set virtual meeting. However, things turned out differently.
"His plan was not necessarily for there to be any time for me to encourage him, but the other way around. In fact, he wanted to encourage me, and it just really meant a lot to me...He was spurring me on, like cheering me on in my race. I just I didn't expect that and it really impacted me in a big way," West revealed.
"Ron didn't know that at that particular time, to be honest with you, I was pretty depressed. I was pretty discouraged. Our tour buses were parked and I just felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, like so many people did...during the height of the pandemic. Ron had no way of knowing that and yet, he saw past his own battle with ALS and lifted me up in the middle of mine. That impacted me in a big way," he added.
West said that Janca passed away a few weeks after their virtual meeting. He then composed the song "Wonderful Life" out of being touched by Janca's story. This is why he particularly indicated in the lyrics how Janca's passing made him recall the words he said during their meeting about Heaven, which gives hope beyond moments of misery in this life.
"All of our stories have broken chapters in them. But the message of hope that we have in Christ is that they don't have to stay broken," West stressed.
West said he hopes that people who hear his songs would be inspired by the stories they contain. Through his songs, he aspires that people will remember their own powerful stories and realize they are not the source of that power but God. He stressed that God shines through the story of each person since He is the author of all stories. God, he said, can redeem even the messiest part of a person's life. This is why it has become his mission to use his talents and platform to share these stories.
The 45-year-old musician and author has announced the release of his sixth book, "The God Who Stays," on September 6. West shared that the book expands the stories captured in his songs. He said he realized that there's so much more to be taken away from the stories and prayed for guidance on how to unpack them on a deeper level. The book is that answer, which reminds whoever will read it of the unchangeable and faithful God present in each powerful story it contains.