Story behind “Above All”
Posted on August 21, 2009 by Paul | 8 Comments | Jump to Comments Box Below
By Paul Baloche and Lenny LeBlanc
“Crucified laid behind a stone
You lived to die rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
On a Tuesday morning a few years ago at my church, alone at the piano, I began worshiping the Lord. As I sang, I started thinking of how Jesus is so much greater than all the temporal things that our culture esteems as great – power, fame, riches, wisdom, etc. The words just came out….”Lord, you are above all kingdoms, above all thrones, above all wonders the world has ever known…” Over the next year, I tried to write a chorus that fit the verses, but I never felt like it was “the one.”
Then one day, Lenny LeBlanc and I got together to write. I played him about twenty ideas for songs and the only one that caught his ear was the verse for ” Above all” that had no chorus. He woke up the next morning and said, “How about…. ‘Crucified, laid behind a stone…like a rose trampled on the ground….’” ” Whoa!” I thought, “What a contrast, what a picture – that’s Jesus. The One who is and always will be above all, was willing to be crucified and rejected, just to demonstrate His love for an unappreciative world.”
By the time we got to “You took the fall and thought of me….above all,” Lenny and I were in tears. The revelation hit us and broke our hearts. It made us realize how worthy He really is. That He truly deserves our worship.
This song means a lot to me because it came from an honest place. I wasn’t ” trying” to write a song originally. I sincerely just wanted to worship Him and praise Him for His greatness. Getting to finish the song with Lenny was such a bonus since he has been such a mentor and friend to me for years.
I have had many people tell me through tears that they feel such love for the Lord as they sing “Above All.” The revelation that The God of the universe was willing to humble himself to the point of crucifixion and death, just to reveal His love for us inspires a broken and contrite heart – like a fragrance of worship coming from a broken jar of perfume.
I remember one time in particular that I heard people singing “Above All” in worship. I was sitting on the floor with my children, watching the inaugural prayer service for President Bush on Fox News Live. Michael W. Smith walked up to the piano and began to sing “Above all powers, above all kings…..” Tears began to pour out from my eyes. My 8 year-old daughter asked, “Are you all right Daddy? What’s wrong?” I replied, “Honey, these are happy tears.” I’m humbled and blown away that a simple prayer of worship, started at my little piano, found its way to The President of the United States. The possibility that this song could be an encouragement to Him is such an honor. ” I pray that he would draw strength and wisdom from The One who is above him……and above all. It blesses me to know that Jesus will be worshiped with this song for years to come.
When Paul Baloche and I finished writing “Above All”, I somehow knew in my heart that it would touch millions of people. It all started when Paul and I got together to write some songs for my soon to be recorded project for Integrity Music. Paul flew in and arrived late in the afternoon. We spent the rest of the day talking and kicking around song ideas that we had started. As the evening progressed, Paul played me the verse to “Above All” except for a few lines that we later changed. Something about the verse really touched me and I told him I thought it was a great idea. He shared with me that he had written several different choruses for the song and had even sung them in various forms during worship times at his home church. He also said he wasn’t happy with any of the versions he had written. We chatted for while then headed off to our rooms.
Early the next morning before Paul woke up, I started playing around with a chorus idea. Later on that morning, we started and finished the song ” Closer.” After a short break, I played my idea for an “Above All” chorus. Paul really liked it and we began fine tuning the song. Every time we got to the line, “Like a rose trampled on the ground,” we would both begin to weep. Here we were – two grown men in a puddle of tears trying our best to finish writing a song.
I think the reason “Above All” has impacted us so powerfully – and many others including Michael W. Smith, is because it’s such a beautiful picture of how a God that is above everything, would become like a rose trampled on the ground, take the fall and think of us….above all.”