Weekly @Switchfoot Song: Might Have Ben Hur

This Switchfoot song title seems to be a play-on-words, talking primarily about a relationship, but is seemingly referring to the old 1959 film, Ben-Hur. Here’s the lyrics:

Everything I know
Tells me she’s everything
That I could hope for
Everything I know
Tells me I can’t let her walk away

[bridge:]
I took my time to find the words
I hope she’d feel the same

[chorus:]
‘Cause I want someone to share my smile
To share the pain
To be there when the sea turns gray
To share the joy
For better or worse
And I thought that it might have been her
I thought that it might have been her

Wonder if she knows
The way I saw her soul
Light up my life
Wonder if she knows
of the pain I feel tonight

The setting of the movie is in AD 26, where Judah Ben-Hur (played by none other than Charlton Heston) is a wealthy prince and merchant in Jerusalem. His childhood friend, the Roman citizen Messala, is now a tribune. After several years away from Jerusalem, Messala returns as the new commander of the Roman garrison. Messala believes in the “glory of Rome” and its imperial power, while Ben-Hur is devoted to his faith and the freedom of the Jewish people, at any cost, even by the sword. Messala asks Ben-Hur for the names of Jews who criticize the Romans, but Ben-Hur refuses, angering Messala.

As the plot of the movie goes on, Ben-Hur falls in love with a woman named Esther who has been following a man named Jesus, and as love has it, Ben-hur is curious about him because of his love for Esther. Ben-Hur’s mother and sister are sick and he takes them to see Jesus, but by this time, Jesus has been arrested on his way to be crucified. Ben-Hur witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus, and during the rain storm, Miriam and Tirzah are healed. Ben-Hur tells Esther that he heard Jesus talk of forgiveness while on the cross, and says “I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand.” He let go of his hatred for Rome, put his sword away, and was relationally/emotionally reunited with his mother and sister.

What’s love got to do with it? Well, this song speaks to the reality of love, which in this context, is someone to come along side of you and share the joy and the pain of life. It’s having someone to share life with, especially when loneliness sets in, skies turn gray, and the need to have companionship and feel heard, understood; this is a human need.

For Ben-Hur, it was Esther, the woman who lit up his soul, who opened his heart to a new way of being human. It was the love of a woman who allowed his heart to be opened to the suffering savior. It was ultimately a soft heart that allowed Ben-Hur to receive the love and forgiveness from Jesus. This is the power of love, compassion (to suffer with), friendship, companionship. This is what Jesus offers, but he often uses relationships to prime our hearts to receive the beauty and worth of His great love. I want to take my time today with my words to share with those whom I love that I’m thankful for them.

I took great liberty to interpret this song the way I did, but the title allowed my imagination to consider the old film’s plot and see what the power of love and relationship can have over us. I’m considering all those who love me and have loved me this morning, and am thankful for everyone who has walked by my side when the pain has been unbearable. I’m thankful for my wife who has displayed the love and compassion of our suffering savior, and has been a patient counselor in the midst of my anger. My heart is softer because of her and many others.

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