Dustin and Chris from Sanctus Real are in the studio with Justin and Kim to talk about their new song, “Won’t Let Me Go” as well as their hit song “My God Is Still the Same.” It doesn’t take long to feel overwhelmed by the constant bad news and chaos we see in the world. Everywhere you turn there is another saddening headline that tempts you to question, “Where is God in all of this? Has he left?”
The guys from Sanctus Real actually used this idea as the catalyst for their song, My God is Still The Same. God hasn’t left. God hasn’t changed and He will never change! In fact, Dustin challenges us to examine our faith deeply because it’s not really faith if we can only have faith in the good times.
Do you need this encouragement today? If this interview is encouraging to you, will you share it with someone else who might need it?
View this video with Sanctus Real, and other interviews with JOY FM artists videos on the JOY FM YouTube Channel.
We are so excited to have you here in the studio today. Lots of people loving your song right now, My God Is Still The Same. We’re hearing about it all the time, people call in like, “Oh, I needed to hear that.” And we would love to know, just talk about that song, where did it come out of? And what does that mean to you guys?
Well, first off, thank you. That’s awesome to hear. That song was the first song that we wrote together in the middle of the pandemic. I joined the band about seven years ago and for about the first five years, I saw Christopher Rohmann every day, just about. We had very few breaks because as a band, it’s like family. And the pandemic split us up, I live in Nashville, he’s in Toledo and we didn’t see each other for about four or five months. And this was the first time that we got back together and so there was a lot to talk about. There was also a ton of what I would call fear in our world, nobody knew what was happening, nobody knew what was going on and you turn on the news or you’d open social media, and not only was there fear, but there were so many arguments and fights and it was chaotic.
And coming from a ministry background, we started talking a little bit about things in history that were similar to this. Because I always laugh because I’m like, “This isn’t really unprecedented. This stuff has happened throughout all of history, wars and in 1918, the Spanish Flu, right? This stuff is not unprecedented.” The only thing that’s unprecedented is the amount of access to information that is out there. So you open your phone and there’re scary headlines, everything you do is scary. And so we started talking about this and I remember almost feeling a little bit of anger, a little bit, like this, “Man, Christians, our calling is to bring light to darkness. We’re the ones who aren’t supposed to be afraid because our security is found in something that’s not even in this world. And death shouldn’t even really make us afraid because we are followers of someone who conquered death.”
And so part of it for us was, you see Christians and you see people who are walking and living in fear and we were like, “What are we going to write about? What is this thing going to be?” And it just turned into this a little bit… How many times do you hear a song that has a rhetorical question as the chorus? There was a little bit of this righteous little anger that was like, “Guys, this is who we’re called to be. In these kinds of times and in this kind of atmosphere.”
And so we wrote the song as a reminder that in good or bad, it’s really hard to say you have faith when it’s only in the good times. When it’s only going well, we’re great, but the second things turn a little bit scary, it’s like there’s a lot of people who go, “Where’s God?” It’s like, “Well, God has been with us from the beginning of history to now and he’s always walked with people and we’re called to look like him.” And what better time to look like him than when the world’s dark? And so that’s where the song comes from, from our hearts was just to remind ourselves as well. I think we all, I’m not going to say we’re not, we’re definitely capable of falling into that trap as well and so it’s just this constant reminder that it’s the same God who did all those things.
It’s really a song about his faithfulness, his steadiness. How have you seen that play out in your own life personally or in the life of someone?
Yeah. Sanctus Real’s been around, I’m almost scared to say for how long, because I’ve been in it since the beginning, but we’ll just say over 20 years, give or take. And I think I’ve seen God’s faithfulness through so many seasons in my personal life. We started this band when I was a teenager, so young and I got to experience the rest of the world when we got to play shows all across the country, internationally and just all this growth that happened to where now, we’re all married, we have kids, we have kids that are the same age that we were when we started the band. It’s just crazy. And I’ve just seen God’s faithfulness play out in all kinds of seasons.
It’s hard to even explain just the gratitude that I even have, I feel like what we get to do, I really feel is a calling for us as a band. It’s not even really a dream, I really feel like we’re supposed to be doing this. And I would just encourage anybody out there that if you feel like you have a calling on your life, that God has given you a specific calling, to pray about it into, to seek it out, and don’t let it just sit there. Because I think seven years ago for us, we were at a crossroads as a band, we could have let that calling just become a whisper. And I think choosing to follow God in seasons that are difficult might be really hard to do, but he will allow you and he will give you the strength to do so. And I’ve seen that happen so many times for us as a band.
When I think about your song, this song specifically, three years ago, I was diagnosed with a super weird cancer in my foot and it was just an odd, weird time. Justin was brand new here, we were getting to know each other still and I walked through this thing. And I remember thinking I wanted to come out on the other side with this really rich experience with God. And on the other side of it, thankfully, I meant on the other side of it, it didn’t look the way that I thought it would spiritually. And the Lord was so gracious to remind me that what I learned in this process was that, even if I didn’t get the desired outcome, which is healing, that doesn’t change his goodness or his faithfulness. And I think that your song really does speak to that and it just reminds us that his goodness does not depend on our circumstances.
Yeah. I love that, thank you. Because I do think a lot of times in Christianity, we have a very simple purpose and that’s to look like Jesus, that’s the way of Christ is to show that. And because he’s pretty cool and amazing, he goes beyond for us. I think a lot of times for us, we are always, Chris mentioning a calling, but a calling a lot of times we have an expected outcome for that calling.
And so we do things to reach whatever that expected outcome is rather than trusting whatever that calling is and then following Jesus. And I think a lot of times people put the cart before their horse, they’re like, “This is what I’m called to do.” And they forget that you’re actually called to look like Jesus and then he takes you to whatever that outcome is. And I think there’s real freedom in what you said, there’s real freedom in letting go of the outcome.
Too many times, it’s the outcome that holds us, prisoner, because we think that this is the way it’s supposed to be. And so we’re in chains in some ways to our outcome, when in reality, we’re like, “If I live for Christ, then I give him the outcome and wherever I end up is wherever he wanted me to go.” And there is so much freedom in that, there’s so much liberty in just being able to say, “Okay, I’m going to look like Jesus today and let’s see where it takes me.”
And to me, that’s where I’ve ended up a lot in life, I’m like, “Wow, how did I end up here?” Because this was never a goal, this was not an expected outcome for me. And it’s just amazing, I think, sometimes when we release our future because I think more than anything, human beings want to hold onto their own future.
And people sometimes get shocked when I’m like, “Look, we’re not even supposed to fear death. Death is supposed to be a good outcome for us personally. Not for our family, not for our friends, but for us as believers, there should be no fear of that, that’s okay for us.” And I think releasing that future gives people so much freedom, but we are such control freaks.
Most of the time God’s outcome blows your mind too. You go, “Oh man, if I had settled for what I truly wanted or what I was truly trying to achieve, I would’ve missed all of this goodness.” And man, I’ve seen that play out in my life time and time again.
Let’s talk about new music, Won’t Let Me Go. What’s up with this song? Why are you excited about it?
Man, it’s a song of gratitude, I think, more than anything else. We’re talking about, My God Is Still The Same, you guys asked us about how we’ve seen God do that. We’ve seen it a lot and I always call it the subtle interactions of Jesus because it’s real easy to celebrate the miracles, but sometimes we don’t pay attention to nuance, he’ll just subtly move something slightly. And he did that so many times over the last seven years, it’s hard to believe when we look back at it. And this song, Won’t Let Me Go and I love it because for us it’s a thing, we’ve seen you do this and now we believe it. So this chorus, it just says, “I know you won’t let me go.”
And for us, it’s like this song of gratitude and I think for other people what we’ve heard over and over again, it’s a song of faith. It’s something you can claim. And even if you haven’t seen it, you claim it in faith. And it’s one of my favorite songs that we’ve done, I think there’s a lot of emotion and passion that we put into it because this is how we really feel. If you could hear the emotion in Chris’s voice talking about where God has taken us, we are truly in a spot right now where we are so thankful to even be here. We shouldn’t be here with you today. I mean, if we are honest with the way our road has been and we are so incredibly grateful for every time we get to do something and experience this. So that’s what this song is, it’s a song of thankfulness.
Oh, I love that.