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Not Right Now, The Story Behind The Song

March 6, 2014

Following is the piece I wrote as an essay for the special edition of my new record, Love Will Have The Final Word, available in both the standard and special edition at

The suffering of others can make us talkative, loosening the tongues of even the most timid among us. We mean well, we want to help, but more often than not we end up being like Job’s comforters: doing more harm than good by offering half-baked answers, which are no comfort at all and leave the hearer feeling even more alone. When we do this we are asking the suffering person to be okay, to cheer up, and in doing so we are rejecting their pain.

The loneliness of our own suffering can make us introspective. It can lead us into the shame and regret buried deep in our hearts, warranted or not (a friend of mine who had a miscarriage told me that all she wanted to say over and over again was, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” though she had done nothing for which she needed to apologize). In this we see how pain has the power to unearth our deepest wounds, driving them to the surface where perhaps God can begin to heal them.

Several years ago, I experienced one of the most healing moments of my life. It happened in the back lounge of a tour bus. I had just poured out my broken heart to my friend, Andy Gullahorn, when I recognized in the silence that fell between us that I was bracing myself for what he would say next. Would he try to fix me? Correct me? Would he reject my pain by offering answers?

After a moment Andy said, “Jason, I want you to stand up with me. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to hug you, and you need to let me hold you for at least two minutes. And I’m going to time it,” he said as he took off his watch, “so you’re not going anywhere.”

I’m not afraid of male bonding, but two minutes is a long time to hug anyone, let alone in the back lounge of a tour bus. I laughed nervously at first because I felt awkward. But then I found myself crying, and not long after that I started ugly crying. And then, as the last bit of strength I had been clinging to gave itself up, I felt like I sort of went limp and mostly just hung there, held up in the arms of my friend. He didn’t ask me to be okay. He didn’t offer answers. He just offered himself.

Pain is holy, and in the presence of holiness it’s often best to keep quiet. No words passed between us, but what Andy was saying, and what God was saying through him, was clear: “You are loved. You are not alone.”

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Tonya Mikhalych permalink
    March 6, 2014 2:25 pm

    Thank you Mr. Gray for such a moving story. I believe your honesty and candor is what draws people to listen to your music. I know that it is one of the reasons I was drawn to your work. I admire how courageous you are in your expression of your own life and walk with Jesus. I wish I could be more open and truthful without feeling like a charlatan, still I am hopeful that God will continue His grace with me in this area. Thank you again – God bless you and your family.

  2. tadsid permalink
    March 6, 2014 3:01 pm

    Thank you Mr. Gray for such a moving story. I believe your honesty and candor is what draws people to listen to your music. I know that is one of the reasons I was drawn to your work. I admire how courageous you are in your expression of music and in your own life. I wish I could be more open and truthful without feeling like a charlatan, still I am hopeful that God will continue His grace with me in this area. Thank you again. God bless you and your family.

  3. Karen permalink
    March 6, 2014 3:22 pm

    Jason – I just wanted to let you know that this song has deeply ministered to a dear, young friend whose husband just recently and unexpectedly died. He left 3 young daughters, ages 6, 9, and 11. My husband heard it on your new album and I forwarded the link to her on FB. She said she just cried and cried as she listened to the song over and over and over. It also ministered to the young man’s mom. Thank you for your ministry ❤

  4. claire permalink
    March 13, 2014 6:54 pm

    O. wow.
    Thanks for this beautifully-crafted, deeply-true song.
    Thanks also for sharing the story behind it–moving and inspiring. Reminds me that it’s actually OK for us to be fully real and human.

  5. March 19, 2014 10:21 pm

    So powerful. I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to do that. After our son died, I learned that there are all too often no words. Just presence and love.

  6. sewiam permalink
    March 21, 2014 7:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Jason, it spoke volumes to me right now. God bless you dear brother.

    Stan Wangen

  7. April 8, 2014 7:35 pm

    Thank you for this song. Today marks the day in 2005 when I removed life support from my daughter, and so these words resonate with me when all I needed was someone to stand with me in silence and pray at the foot of the ashes.

  8. Donna Jerles permalink
    April 11, 2014 2:23 pm

    A week after I bought this cd, a friend’s husband of 3 and a half weeks died. This song, which had already deeply touched me, helped me tell her what I had in my heart. I am so thankful there are people in this world who can say out loud what is in my head.

  9. May 31, 2014 11:05 pm

    Thank you for voicing what we all feel. Also– I would love the acoustic version added to iTunes. I heard you tonight on the KLove fan awards.

  10. June 25, 2014 4:56 pm

    no words left to say this is JESUS LOVE it healed my heart thank you so mucht SHALOM!

  11. Laurie Jackson permalink
    July 23, 2014 1:49 pm

    I found this song because a heartbroken grandmother was given it by her daughter-in-law. Another son’s 3 month old baby boy suddenly developed health problems and was gone within a few weeks. Your song has ministered to that entire family as they grieve the loss of little Cooper and look forward to seeing him in heaven.

  12. stephanie permalink
    July 25, 2014 1:48 am

    Bloody Brilliant…

  13. Erick Teodosio permalink
    October 22, 2014 7:40 pm

    Hi, Mr. Gray, my name is Erick Teodosio, I’m from Brasil, from a city called Fortaleza. I found your songs not long time ago. I hear Downhere a lot and the website Deezer put your name as a related artist. When I discovered your music, my life really, really changed. I know in my heart that Jesus talks to me through your songs. “I don’t know how” is the pray from my heart every single day. It would be good to know that you can pray a little bit for me. My email adress is dowh below. Thank you for let Jesus use you to talk to me. P.S.: Sorry about my terrible english.

  14. Ken permalink
    November 8, 2014 1:26 pm

    Thank you for this song. It has helped me with the loss of my father. I saw you in Elkhorn and was profoundly moved by your music and your courage. It was the first time I ever raised my arms in joy! God Bless you!

  15. Cindy Cassidy permalink
    March 17, 2015 8:19 pm

    My daughter was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer of the lung and given 9-12 months survival. That was 13 months ago. I thank God for everyday I have with her. I am strong on the outside, but not so much behind closed doors. I love this song. The tears flow as I listen to it often, but they are healing tears. Please say a prayer for my daughter. It will take a miracle for her and if it doesn’t happen she will be in the arms of Jesus.

  16. April 10, 2015 11:49 pm

    Thank you for your story. I too have had a similar experience. I could remember and feel those experiences strongly a couple of days ago when I heard Not Right Now for the first time as played on The Wally Show Podcast from a visit you made about a year ago.

    The acoustic version dives deep and touches those places that cause healing movement under the weight of the water. After listening to the album version I wasn’t moved like I was with the acoustic version. It lacked the feeling of gravity and depth the lyrics called for. It was more like rocks skimming the top of the water.

    While the album version was good (I bought the whole album through iTunes) I would gladly pay for an acoustic version.

    Please forgive my approach through this comment stream. Frankly, I am technologically challenged and couldn’t figure out how else to contact you or your team to make such a request.

    May the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you!

  17. Deb permalink
    September 28, 2015 9:28 pm

    My friend’s 33 year old son was killed 11 days ago in a cycling accident. He left behind a wife and 10 month old daughter. Somehow she found your video of “Not Right Now” on You Tube from the coffeehouse in Danbury, CT. She found such comfort from the video, and the words you spoke before; she played it in Church at her son’s memorial service. She has played it often since. Her name is Maureen and she lives outside Toledo, OH. I found you were coming to Toledo with Big Daddy Weave on October 22 and bought tickets so my friend can come hear you. Thank you for your ministry.You make a difference. God Bless!

  18. Maureen Billings permalink
    October 5, 2015 2:58 pm

    I just wanted to tell you that a neighbor sent me your YouTube video for “Not Right Now” along with your commentary beforehand. I had been trying to find just the right song/video to play at my son’s memorial service. He was killed in a cycling accident 18 days ago. He left behind a 31 yo wife and 10 mo daughter. I wanted the 549 mourners in attendance to know that all they need to offer us is the permission to grieve. And, at these times, when people want to do something and feel so helpless, that praying for us is a HUGE support and has sustained us. It is a beautiful song and your blog about it is just as beautiful. Thank you for providing us comfort during such overwhelming grief.

  19. because He lives... permalink
    February 20, 2016 11:45 pm

    Saw you in Paris tonight. Didn’t know about the real pain behind the story. I walked through the same thing a few years back. Wretched pain…. hallelujah the glory is on the other side of the pain (one foot in front of the other right through it with Jesus). I didn’t have friends to give me a coffee grinder, I only had God (who was more than enough! even though sometimes I felt like He wasn’t.). Anyway, was blessed by your ministering this evening. Thanks. And hope your knee feels better soon!

  20. Carol permalink
    June 28, 2016 12:45 am

    Thank you…God has been revealing more than I am equipped to share, yet. A keyhole glimpse would be how this beautifully written post resonates so deeply with Oriah Mountain Dreamers “The Invitation”. I am being lead to paraphrase her “don’t need to fade it or fix it; stand in the center of the fire and do NOT shrink back”. I am grateful He used your words and hers to stitch part of my thoughts together.

  21. Juanita permalink
    September 24, 2016 5:30 pm

    Just weeping…

  22. Paul permalink
    February 25, 2017 2:32 pm

    What a beautiful song about how hard it is to grieve well and to be quiet with others as they grieve. Your music has touched me and my fellow travelers, and to be aware of your pain makes me wish I could give the gift back. Grieve well my friend.


  1. Jason Gray – Not Right Now | Tim Bendt
  2. What Gets Us Through . . . | Bear in Mind
  3. 35 Songs for a Grieving Parent – Too Beautiful

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