Keith Green is often credited for the writing of this song, but he turned to two other early Contemporary Christian Music pioneers, Randy Stonehill and Todd Fishkind, to collaborate.
Stonehill tells the story behind this song: “Keith called me up in the middle of a busy afternoon in 1976. He said, ‘Randy, Todd Fishkind came over to do some co-writing, and he played me the most beautiful chorus melody I think I have ever heard.’…And Keith said, ‘Randy, you’ve got to come over right now, because I’m working on the verse melody, but God told me’ – I started laughing to myself, it’s like how are you going to argue with that? – ‘God told me you’re the guy that’s going to write the lyrics. He’s going to do mighty things with it. It’s going to go all around the world.’ And now he’s shouting on the phone, I’m holding the phone back and reaching for my aspirin. Oh my gosh, this guy is like a force of nature.”
Stonehill continued: “So I got in the car, I drove to the house, and as I pulled up into the driveway you could hear the music wafting out onto the front lawn. Which is interesting, because his music room is all the way at the back of the house. But he was wailing and flailing, and it was so intense that you could hear the music even if you were standing on the front lawn. So I walked up to the porch, and Melody [Green] opened the screen door, and she had this kind of sweet, bemused look on her face. She hugged me hello and she pointed down the hall, and she said, ‘He’s waaaiiittting.’ We loved him, but he was so unique and he could be like a bull in a china shop. He was like a hurricane you almost had to brace yourself for.” Having heard Green play the melody, Stonehill came up with the lyrics to the song: “I said, ‘All right, what about this? (singing) ‘Like a foolish dreamer trying to build a highway to the sky,” his arms shot up in the air and he went, ‘Yeeess! Praise God! See? I knew you were the guy!’…I ended up writing most of the lyrics to that song that afternoon; he just trapped me in the music room for about three hours, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom. He’d just go, ‘No, no, no, come on, you’re on it, you’re on it. How’s the second verse go?’ And he’s throwing a line or two from time to time, but basically he was just staring at me with a yellow legal pad and a pen, and a big smile on his face.”
This song made a lasting impression on the Christian music scene and Stonehill believes Green spoke prophetically when he anticipated it’s success: “Because he told me on the phone before I ever started working on the song, he said, ‘Randy, God is going to do mighty things with this song, and it’s going to go all around the world.’ And after we wrote it and then he did the first recording of it, we watched in delight and in amazement as God did take it all around the world. It became a Top Ten hit in Australia, it opened ministry doors for me all the way down to the bottom of the world. It was recorded again and again down through the years over and over by various artists and it’s still being re-recorded to this day. I’m convinced that was not because Keith and I were so talented or cool, but I really do believe that God in his largesse allowed two young Christians to frame in music that pivotal moment in a person’s journey when the wind of the spirit comes blowing in and God’s love breaks through.”
This song was featured on Keith Green’s debut album, For Him Who Has Ears to Hear, which was released in 1977. That album ranks at #5 on CCM Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.
This song is about finding a sense of meaning through God… at that moment of salvation.
Bible Reference… Acts 9:1-18; 2Cor. 12:9; Eph. 1:7; 2:8; Titus 2:11-14.
Like a foolish dreamer trying to build a highway to the sky,
all my hopes would come tumbling down…
and I never knew just why.
Until today, when You pulled away the clouds
that hung like curtains on my eyes.
Well, I’ve been blind all these wasted years…
and I thought I was so wise.
But, then, You took me by surprise!
Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
until Your love broke through.
I’d been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
until your love broke through.
All my life I’ve been searching for that crazy missing part,
and, with one touch, You just rolled away
the stone that held my heart.
And, now I see that the answer was as easy
as just asking You in.
And I am so sure I could never doubt
Your gentle touch again.
It’s like the power of the wind! (CHORUS)