The story behind Andrew Peterson’s “You Came So Close”

Andrew Peterson’s “You Came So Close” has lyrics describing someone’s marriage breaking apart through adultery, but then somehow holding together. Some of the lyrics:

You could no more kill the darkness
Than you could raise the sun
And the sky was cold and black
Like the barrel of a gun

And I remember the tremble
In the words you spoke
As you balanced there on the brink
At the end of your rope

You came so close to letting go

And you knew she would hate you
She would kick you out
You’d been lying in the bed that you made
When you broke your vow

Then you woke in the wasteland
Of the truth you told
And you turned to see she stayed,
She was bright as a band of gold

You came so close to letting go

In an old interview, he describes the story of difficult grace behind the song:

The verses came out of hard conversations with friends of mine who were going through dark nights of the souls  —  suicidal thoughts and another guy whose marriage was falling apart. He had been cheating on his wife and spiritually speaking was as dead as he could be. He decided that whenever his wife found out that he would have his bags packed. She confronted him; of course it was ugly. He stood there waiting for her to kick him out and she didn’t. In this moment of incredible grace, she said, “I don’t want you to leave. I want to figure this out. You’re my husband. I love you.” That was so jarring to him, because he couldn’t fathom that she would ever want him to stay. It woke him up. Whatever it was that was in him that wanted to quit, it gave him a ray of hope that maybe he was loveable. Lo and behold, they’re still married. That story renewed my faith that there’s never reason to give up hope. The Lord can do anything. How many times has He proven this ability to take all of this darkness and to turn it inside out and turn it into this bright light.

I was watching the commentary on  The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and one of the commenters said that despair is not just a sin theologically speaking. Despair is also just a mistake. Despair assumes you know the end of the story, that you can see something that you can’t. My friends in that moment could not forsee a good ending to their stories, but there was still cause for hope. We don’t know how the story will end.

What an example of Christ-like commitment to his church, even in the midst of terrible sin and sorrow.

The song is on Andrew Peterson’s “Counting Stars” album. Worth every dollar.