by Danita White
Welcome back to Behind the Lyrics.
This week, we’re looking at “Better Days”, a recently dropped song from Ant Clemons featuring Justin Timberlake. It’s the first song from his upcoming album (title has yet to be announced) and premiered this past week at Stacey Abrams’ and Fair Fight Action’s Rock the Runoff Virtual Concert Fundraiser. Clemons, whose album Happy 2 Be Here was nominated for a Grammy award last month, gave God a major shoutout in an Instagram post about the song.
“THANK YOU GOD!” Clemons wrote, “Together with the help of my brother @justintimberlake we offer a glimmer of hope in the mist [sic] of the storm. ‘Better Days’ is a song we wrote together as a reassurance to anyone that needs to hear it, that in fact better days are ahead of us … GOD IS THE [GOAT]!!”
Timberlake echoed Clemons’ words in an Instagram post of his own. “We wrote the song together during the lockdown as a reaction to the frustrations and challenges we’ve all been hit with this year… but also as a reminder to stay hopeful and continue working toward a better future,” the ‘NSYNC alum shared.
Let’s dive into some of the lyrics.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
Keep your eyes on the road ahead
But if you’re feeling lost in the night
It’s okay to cry
Just as long as you hold your head
First off, this is the song we all need to close out 2020. What with Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, the COVID-19 pandemic, the stock market crash, the murder of George Floyd which sparked racial unrest and riots, an unpleasant election, and so much more, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all hoping better days are ahead in 2021 and beyond. To be clear: When it hits 12:00 AM on January 1, 2021, we’ll probably still be dealing with COVID. Our country will still have political problems, racial tension, and financial uncertainty. Many people will still be out of work, struggling to feed their families, and not know how they’re going to make it. There’s no magic reset button to fix the messes of this year.
But can 2021 be better than 2020? Are there better days ahead? Without a doubt, yes.
Amidst the shadows of the tunnel, it’s easy to stop moving forward, but Clemons and Timberlake remind us that there is a light at the end. It doesn’t matter how dark the night looks, how negative the news sounds, or how hopeless our circumstances seem, we must keep our eyes on the road ahead. As we move forward into another year, we don’t know what it holds, but we do know Who holds it.
The future lies in the hands of God. He is our Friend, and He is for us. His hand guides our journeys and like a good Father, He looks out for us every step of the way. This knowledge gives us hope of better days. Even when the burdens are heavy and the storms rage fierce, God is with us.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
I know you’ve been kicked down
Slept on, let down, faith gone
Waited for too long for something to lean on (Lean on)
You feel weak, just be strong (Ooh)
Deep breath, stay calm
If you just press on, press on, press on
I feel weak all the time. I’m thankful for that because it is in my times of weakness that I am strongest.
“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)
If this year has kicked you down, don’t panic about what’s coming next year. Stay calm. If you’ve been in a relationship where your partner has slept on you or ignored you, don’t give up hope that you will one day find someone who really loves you. Just be strong. If you’ve been let down by friends or family, don’t become bitter. Just press on.
Have faith, lean on God, and press on.
I know you feel left out and stepped on
Keep goin’, keep goin’
Shine bright, don’t dim yours for no one
Keep goin’ higher, and higher and higher and higher
Regardless of what happens, we have a responsibility to shine our light. We don’t throw in the towel. We don’t give in to despair and fatigue and doubt. We don’t let negativity infect our spirit. We don’t dim our light for anyone. In the memorable words of former First Lady Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high”. And higher and higher and higher so that our light can shine brighter and brighter and brighter for all to see.
“Make your light shine, so others will see the good you do and will praise your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
‘Cause we’re on our way to better
Better’s ahead, better’s ahead
It get’s worse ‘fore it gets better
But better’s ahead, better’s ahead
We are on our way to better. For believers, this statement holds special meaning and is especially true. Better’s ahead for us down here. Yes. But what’s more? Better’s ahead for us when down here is over. Things have been bad in 2020. Who knows? In 2021, things may get worse. But nothing that takes place on earth is the end for us, not even death. And what comes after is truly far better.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” (Romans 8:18)