“When we started writing the song, we had no idea the turn it was going to take.”
That’s what MercyMe’s lead singer, Bart Millard, tells host Dr. Steve Greene on a recent episode of the Greenelines podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. He’s referring to “Say I Won’t,” which tells the supernatural story of longtime MercyMe friend and former merchandising representative Gary Miracle, on the band’s April 30 release, inhale (exhale).
“We started writing it back in 2019,” Millard says. “And then by Christmas of 2019, Gary had gotten really sick and had a blood infection. And he actually flatlined for about seven minutes, and we were afraid we were going to lose him.”
But then came the good news: Doctors could save their friend.
And then came the bad news: They would have to amputate all four of his limbs.
But then came the best news: “His attitude when he came out—his outlook on the whole thing—was amazing,” Millard says.
Right when the group went back to work on “Say I Won’t,” the pandemic hit. When it came to their friend’s journey, “We had to watch from a distance, and just being consumed with the story and watching it,” Millard says. “It kind of showed up in the song, and the song went from talking about identity in Christ to being an overcomer, Rocky-type moment by the end of the song, and we just realized that Gary had been all over it from the very beginning.
“And so it just felt natural to try to tell his story through the video,” Millard says.
The film chronicles Miracle’s journey from his first days in the hospital to times at home and elsewhere with his wife and family—moments of despair and destiny, of pain and promise.
“Our buddy, he went through a lot, and he really exemplifies the heart behind the song,” guitarist Mike Scheuchzer tells Greene.
The song’s chorus may express that heart best: “I’m gonna run/ No, I’m gonna fly/ I’m gonna know what it means to live/ And not just be alive/ The world’s gonna hear/ ‘Cause I’m gonna shout/ And I will be dancin’ when circumstances drown the music out/ Say I won’t.”
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