“Before and After” is probably one of the most introspective songs on the record for me, and one of the most personal ones.
For a lot of my life I wrestled with pornography addiction. From the age of 9 into college, and it was a hard time for me. Even after I got saved my sophomore year of high school, I really still felt this sense that God was just looking down on me with such disgust, and I felt like, “Man, I cannot beat this thing”.
There was one night in particular where I was in my room and everyone had gone to sleep – this was still in high school, and I just kind of hit my knees in my room and I just cried out to God just going, “God, I can’t do this. And I get it, You’re holy and I’m not, so if You want to leave, You’re free to do it, because I wouldn’t want to be around me either.”
I got a vision, I saw just as clear as I’m sitting here, I saw myself kneeling on the ground and in the same instant I saw, I saw the Lord come and in the picture and kneel next to me, and for the next 5 or 10 seconds, all I saw was Him just put His hand on my back, and He didn’t say a word, He was just here with me. And, man, nothing was said in that moment, but more was spoken to me about God’s nearness to the broken and contrite spirit than anything that has ever been said to me.
And so this song is me articulating that night again to people, and the first verse being my cry to God and the second verse being Him responding to me like that.