[BEHIND THE LYRICS] ‘God Only Knows’

by Emily Medlock

This week on Behind the Lyrics, we’re going to talk about one of for KING & COUNTRY’s greatest songs from their new Burn the Ships album. But first, it’s only fair if we go over a little bit of the band’s background.

Now, I remember seeing for KING & COUNTRY back in 2012 on the Winter Jam tour when they were in the middle of releasing their first album. One thing I can say about the Aussies (Luke and Joel Smallbone) is that they have so much respect and honor. In fact, at the time, that was their slogan. They had “Respect & Honor” written all over their merchandise and encouraged men everywhere to treat women with the utmost respect. Luke even stated, “The best legacy a man can leave is that of a good husband and good father.” A statement that you can hardly disagree with.

You may know for KING & COUNTRY due to their 2016 movie Priceless (and song by the same name). Now, this vision they have will bring tears to your eyes. The movie is about prostitution via human trafficking (a rather dark, but very real, topic). The song is an anthem to women everywhere who don’t feel good enough, who feel soiled and broken beyond repair due to what they’ve gone through, and who blame themselves for what has happened to them. Please listen to the band’s song Priceless and if you have the time, watch the movie. Just beware that it is not for children and will tug on every heart string you have.

That said, let’s go back to their newest album, Burn the Ships. It was released in October. The song I want to talk about today is a single that was released back in July. It’s called “God Only Knows”.

The Smallbones announced in a recent newsletter that, “This song and video hold a very special place in our hearts, especially after several battles our family has faced these past few years. And from the many stories you’ve shared with us about the losses and heartbreak you’ve encountered…we wanted to give you an honest, yet hopeful song to listen to during some of these difficult seasons. We hope ‘God Only Knows’ shows you how loved and known you are by the One who made you.”

Joel Smallbone said in an interview, “I think it’s the most dramatic — as far as comments are concerned — response that we’ve ever gotten. People are saying, ‘I’m on the edge, the precipice, and I watched this and this persuaded me.’ If there was a depth and a heart and a deep purpose of the record, this encapsulates it.”


Now, without further rambling, it’s time for the breakdown. Here we have “God Only Knows” by for KING & COUNTRY.

Wide awake while the world is sound asleepin’
Too afraid of what might show up while you’re dreamin’

We all have a past, many have one that they want to run from. There’s nothing that will keep you awake at night like regret. It will seem like every time you close your eyes, you are sent back to the past. You dream of every mistake you made, every trauma you have faced, and every bad memory that you have.

Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you
Nobody, nobody would believe you

Let’s use the MeToo movement to explain this. It’s not complicated. No one really “knows” what happened to someone except for the person who was there when it happened. Have you ever tried to convince someone of something that you did or that happened to you only to have them look at you like you’re an imbecile? It can be quite exhausting. This happens every single day to millions of people. Some are brought to court, some are questioned by spouses, while others are met with a disgusted stare on the street based on silly biases. Why even bring anything up if no one will even believe you?

Every day you try to pick up all the pieces
All the memories, they somehow never leave you

Those who haven’t gone through tragedies will never understand how hard it is to just get up in the morning. If sleeping is hard, then getting up is nearly impossible. It can seem that no matter how hard you try, you can’t get your life together. But more than likely, you’re still trying to catch up from the past. It’s like doing dishes from lunch when you have dishes in the sink from breakfast, last night’s dinner, and every lunch from the last three days!

God only knows what you’ve been through
God only knows what they say about you

Again, we spend so much time wondering how people perceive us. It’s natural to want people to like you. It’s natural to want people to think the best of you. But the truth of the matter is that you can’t truly appreciate someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. You can try, and God bless you for doing that. But you don’t know what they’ve been through, how they got where they are, or if the rumors you hear about them are true.

God only knows how it’s killing you
But there’s a kind of love that God only knows
God only knows the real you

In the end, God is the only one who you should try to please. No human has the ability to love you the way that He does. No matter what you’ve done, what you’ve been through, God knows. And He loves you all the same. He knows your intentions, the guilt you hold, and the wrong that you have done, as well as the wrong that’s been done to you. God is the only one who will ever, ever know you 100%.

You keep a cover over every single secret
So afraid if someone saw them, they would leave
Somebody, somebody, somebody sees you
Somebody, somebody will never leave you

In this world, it’s so hard to trust anyone. As the lyrics said, “nobody, nobody would believe you.” There is a reason we call the things we keep to ourselves secrets. There is a reason we want them kept that way too. We are afraid will be judged out of context. Or maybe afraid that people won’t understand that we’ve changed.

For the lonely, for the ashamed
The misunderstood, and the ones to blame
What if we could start over?

The greatest beauty in salvation is the opportunity to start over. What is hard to grasp is that God is the only one that will know your salvation is true, that your repentance is true. Everyone else will assume you’re the same person you’ve always been. No amount of talking will let them know that you aren’t. This can be heartbreaking news. But if we can remember to give everyone else the same chance, they we wish we’d be given, it sure is a whole lot easier.

God only knows where to find you
God only knows how to break through

God can reach even the most stubborn heart. As Christians, we pray every day that God will reach the heart of every loved one in our lives, and every wicked heart on earth. But in the end, it’s not up to us.

It’s up to us to keep Him in our hearts, not force Him on another. To remain humble, yet confident enough to be ourselves, and allow Him to let us be the change we want to see in the world.

You know, this song reminds me of the Apostle Paul. Early on in life, Paul persecuted the Christian faith. As a Pharisee, he likely traveled around, trying to get Jews who accepted Jesus as the messiah punished. But we all know, he wasn’t this person forever. And yet, after he had changed, people still mistrusted him. Christians who met him didn’t know whether he was for them or against them. Even the traditional Jews were unsure whether his new faith was real or not. Everyone looked at him for what he was and not what he had become. This happens time and time again. People can only see your past and they want to keep you there…in your past. But you are not your past, you are not what you’ve done. You are a child of God.

Now, the video to this song is so powerful. Please watch it before continuing, don’t just listen to the song on Spotify.

In the video, the woman was in such a deep depression after what she had gone through, that she was quite literally done with life. It only took one random act of kindness, compassion, and love to save her life. It seems like a dream, right? That one small move can make such a big difference. But doesn’t assuming it can’t underestimate the power of love? Of God?

I’m going to look to a rather unlikely source for a minute here. Everyone has heard by now that the great Stan Lee has passed. Ahead of his time, Stan Lee made this statement in 1968!

Stan Lee had many amazing quotes throughout the years, but here is one of my favorites:

“Unlike a team of costumed super-villains, they can’t be halted with a punch in the snoot, or a zap from a ray gun. The only way to destroy them is to expose them — to reveal them for the insidious evils they really are. The bigot is an unreasoning hater — one who hates blindly, fanatically, indiscriminately. If his hang-up is black men, he hates ALL black men. If a redhead once offended him, he hates ALL redheads. If some foreigner beat him to a job, he’s down on ALL foreigners. He hates people he’s never seen — people he’s never known — with equal intensity — with equal venom. Now, we’re not trying to say it’s unreasonable for one human being to bug another. But, although anyone has the right to dislike another individual, it’s totally irrational, patently insane to condemn an entire race — to despise an entire nation — to vilify an entire religion. Sooner or later, we must learn to judge each other on our own merits. Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill out hearts with tolerance. For then, and only then, will we be truly worthy of the concept that man was created in the image of God – a God who calls us ALL — his children.”

While this this quote speaks of bigotry and prejudice, it also speaks of our inner self. Who we really are and what we should be defined by. Now the word “tolerance” may not be the perfect word here. But think of tolerance as “patience, charity, and love.” As humans in modern-day society, we can unknowingly be very judgmental. But we must remember that God is the only one whose place it is to judge. It’s our place to show everyone we meet love. After all, God is love. Showing others love, is showing them who God is…before they’ve even met Him.

If you have any suggestions for Behind the Lyrics, then please let me know! I’d love to hear them! Which song should I take on next?

Emily Medlock is a freelance writer who specializes in video games, movies, viral content, Christianity, music and YouTube video scripts. Visit her online at emilymedlock.com/blog.


  1. Hi Emily I really appreciate the way you described
    the message found in this song. There are so many
    so many hurting people in the world today Christians
    and unbelievers. What I believe is that most of
    the time non-Christians and even Christians only only see
    and hear what they want to see and hear. Without theove of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit having HIS way
    in our hearts and minds we will never even attempt to truly
    understand what our neighbors may be going through. We all have some kind of baggage in our life that we all bring
    to the table and God is truly the only one who understands
    us and can heal us. Nothing that man has created csn heal ike God’s love

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