The Full Cycle of Life in One Place
Over the course of 15 or so months, Jason Gray released three EPs that looked at the cycle God uses to grow us. Each of the EPs focused on one part of that cycle. Once the final part came out, Jason released the full cycle on one CD. Being the die-hard fan of Jason’s music that I am, I bought each part of the cycle as it came out. And then I bought the Order Disorder Reorder CD as well.
Since I have reviewed each EP as it was released, this is going to be more of an overview of each section, but I will link up to my full review of each EP.
We start with life in Order. This is when things are going well. We have jobs, we have health, our relationships are strong. And the five songs in this section reflect the praise it is easy to give God as enjoy these times. “Maker of Mornings (I Am Loved),” for example, is a song of pure praise. The only hint at what is to come is “Order Disorder Reorder,” the final song of this part of the disc which talks about the full cycle and how God uses the hard times in life to grow us.
While I can easily point to my favorite songs in the other two sections, I struggle a bit with this one. I think it’s because I find the lyrics to “I’m Gonna Let It Go” and “Order Disorder Reorder” more aspirational than how I truly am. I wish I could say that I trust God, but the reality is I try to control things. Maybe that’s why I do still resonate with these songs – they remind me what I need to do.
We’ve all been there – that moment when life goes sideways. A broken relationship. An unexpected layoff. A bad diagnosis. The list can go on and on. Suddenly, we find ourselves going through trials. And the next six songs focus on our reactions during those times. There are the desperate prayers to God to help us “Through” and to “Remind Me You’re Here.” And we do get the reminders we need that the Lord will “Fight for You.” At times, the lyrics in this section are raw. While they do remind us of God’s presence, they express hurt and grief. They are very reminiscent of some of the Psalms where David pours out his pain to God.
My favorite song here is “Honesty.” And someday, I hope to get through it without crying. It speaks to where I am too much of the time when going through trials. It’s raw. It showcases pain. And it is expressed so well. My favorite line is “I told you leave but please don’t go.” Fortunately, God never leaves us, but that captures so many of the contradictory lines in the song as we wrestle with our feelings through pain. And, that’s ultimately what the song is about – the wrestling with God through the pain and the truth that God wants all of us, even our honesty.
The disc ends with the seven songs that represent the final part of the cycle. And God doesn’t leave us in trials. We do emerge on the other side, and we can look back and see what God taught us. Or maybe it’s just me who only sees what God was trying to teach me on the other side. I can be rather hard headed that way. We get songs like “What the Hard Times Taught Me,” “Right on Time,” and “Every Moment Belongs.” This is not to minimize the pain we’ve been through, but a reflection on where we were and where we are now.
My favorite song here is “Tethered.” It’s a reminder that we are connected to God and His love for us no matter what we have done and no matter what we are going through. It clicked with me the first time I heard it, and I can listen to it over and over and over again.
Order Disorder Reorder
The idea behind releasing the eighteen songs here as separate groups was to allow time for reflection on each part of the cycle. I enjoyed that. However, I was also excited to see the songs being released in one place. I think there is benefit to meditating on each part of the cycle and in seeing it as a whole.
If you’ve bought each section individually, there are no added tracks or bonuses if you buy the complete disc electronically. HOWEVER, if you are like me and love having the lyrics to songs, you’ll be thrilled to know that they are included with the physical CD. I don’t think you need to buy the EP’s and the completed project, but I definitely recommend you buy these songs one way or the other.
Musically, this fits perfectly with Jason Gray’s soft rock style. We’ve got mostly upbeat songs, yes, even in the Disorder section. In fact, the slowest song here is “Right On Time” from Reorder.
And there is not a bad song in the bunch. Seriously, while I have my favorites, there is something that resonates with each song on the disc. Granted, I am a big fan of Jason’s song writing normally, but he seems to have outdone himself here.
About the only weird thing here is the transition from Disorder to Reorder. Disorder ends with “Hard Time Prelude” while Reorder begins with “What the Hard Times Taught Me.” Basically, we get an acoustic chorus of what becomes a full and fully produced song in the very next track. They are different enough that I don’t mind, but it is a bit funny listening to them back to back.
The timing couldn’t have been better for these reminders since they came out from late 2019 to late 2020. Worldwide, we needed this. But life will always have these cycles, so I will be enjoying Order Disorder Reorder and the truths it reminds us of for many years to come.