FOR THIS WE HAVE JESUS…The story behind the song.

By September 19, 2014 BLOG 10 Comments

I asked my incredible wife, Paige, what she thought my first post should be and in her wisdom, she said, “let people know where ‘For this we have Jesus’ came from because the heart behind the whole album is wrapped up in that.” It is a great story…a story that I still don’t fully understand or can truly fathom, but one that has grown my faith.

Like many of you, I grew up in a church where I if it had anything to do with music, I was there. With my Dad being the Worship Pastor, I didn’t have a choice, not that I’d choose differently had I been given one. Since the age of 5, I was involved with Children’s Choir and loved all the plays, camps and special events where I was able to perform. I can see so much of who I am as a singer and worship leader was already being cultivated at this early age.

Ever wonder what John Bolin used to looked like at 5 years old?

John Bolin young boy

Or 8 years old?

John Bolin young boy 2

Yes, and if you are wondering, I still bleed “cardinal red”!

My first children’s choir director was a lady by the name of Carolyn Miller. She had one of the largest hearts for teaching kids to love music. I can still hear her and her warm ups, “Come Christians join to sing, ‘Halle-OO-ah amen!’” Well she was a wonderful mother with her 4 incredible kids. When my family moved to Texas in 2000, the Millers were one of the families we knew we’d miss the most. It was the summer of 2001 that I heard the news that Ms. Carolyn was diagnosed with cancer in her hip. I can’t imagine the shock that the Millers felt during this time. But people from all over the country began to lift this woman up with a hope that she would be healed. It was the summer of 2003 when I learned that Ms. Carolyn’s treatment was not working as they hoped and the cancer had spread so fast that they had to amputate one of her legs. I will never forget this day for a few reasons. First, I’ll never forget when I heard the news and how I felt such a deep sense of confusion. Why? Why would God do this to an incredibly godly woman, wife, and mother? Secondly, I remember God and I had a heart-to-heart. This 16-year-old boy was really struggling with how the God he loved and devoted his life to could allow this to happen. And thirdly, and most importantly, I remember God’s clear answer to all of my questions and doubt. That very evening I was leading a revival at First Baptist Church in a small town of Fruitvale, Texas. There were only about 50 people there in that small country church. I couldn’t tell you what I sang or who spoke, but I can tell you what he said. He was sharing about how the difficulty in this life cannot always be explained and how we have to trust the Lord on the mountaintop as well as in the valley. Then he said this…I can almost remember it word for word, “In my family,” he said, “we always had a phrase that we would share in good times and bad, ‘for this we have Jesus…for THIS we have JESUS.’” It was as if the Lord Himself looked down on my doubting heart, held my face in His hands and said, “John, I allow many things in many ways for reasons you may never know or understand…but I promise you 2 things, 1) All things are sifted through MY hands, and 2) For all the things you’ll ever go through, you have Me.” Wow, I don’t remember anything else the Pastor said after that.

I went home that night and in the quietness of my bedroom penned these words,

For this we have Jesus,

For this we have the Lord.

For this we have Jesus and His Love forevermore.

We may never see the purpose, or know the reason why.

But for this we have Jesus,

For this we have the Lord.

It was just a few months thereafter that I received the news that Ms. Carolyn went home to be with the Lord. I was honored beyond words that “For This We Have Jesus” was played at her funeral as a testimony to God’s faithfulness and presence through the whole situation.

There is a misconception that those that put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ will then cease from any pain or struggle thereafter. For those who are children of God, as we look at the scars and bruises of this life, you know this to be far from the truth. We all face unexpected difficulties, pain, and loss in this life and even though we do not fully understand it, God allows these sifted moments to strengthen and teach us more about Himself. And this unexplainable peace He promises, comes not from the absence of conflict, but in our proximity to the Heavenly Father.

It is my prayer that the words of this song, as well as all other songs on this project, encourages you to stand firm and hold on to the promises of God. The promise that no matter where you go or what you do His love and mercy is greater than our sin, that the great I AM will supply our every need, that His grace is sufficient for every moment in life, that all things work together for good to those who love God, and that even death is not the end but only a door to endless life with the Lord forever. So as we walk this life of joy and sorrow, light and darkness, new and old, and life and death…for this we have Jesus.

 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.

In this world you will have trouble But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

To listen to more songs from FOR THIS WE HAVE JESUS click here.


  • Cathy Woods says:

    Thank you, John. (Paige is incredibly wise!) I need this truth so much right now as I am going through this last season of life with my parents. They need to hear it, too, as we all try to hold on to the love we share and the love of the Lord that we share, even though the way looks so dark between now and the time God chooses to take them home. It is so amazing how much comfort God can give through a song. You are a blessing!

  • Stacey Blessing says:

    Oh, my! I remember that little boy in those pictures. I also remember Carolyn. She was a very special person to everyone. I was sad to hear she had passed away. I was very confused as well as to how God would allow that to happen to such a Godly woman. The way you feel and think of Carolyn is how I feel about your dad. Just singing certain songs in church will make me well up with tears because it makes me think of him. I can still hear him singing those songs. He had such an impact on my life in so many ways. He also taught me how I wanted to raise my children. We never sat down and had long conversations, but I learned by watching and remembered everything I saw the day I had my son many years later. It’s amazing how God puts people in our lives, even if it’s for a short time, and can have such a huge impact on our lives years later. I’m so happy for you. You have a beautiful family. God bless!!

  • Judy Debarbieris says:

    John, it is such a blessing to hear your heart through your music! I am in love with For This We Have Jesus and many other songs on the CD. Your voice is amazing and you are so very talented, but to hear the meaning behind the words you penned long ago is so touching! Just today I received news that I did not want to hear. I know that I have no control and must trust my loved ones healing to The Lord! Thank you and Paige for the reminder, For This We Have Jesus! Love In Christ!

  • Jennifer Stewart says:

    This has blessed me today of all days as I sit with my daddy as he recovers from a double bypass. As he struggles to draw a breath or makes a joke I sit here and say “for THIS I have Jesus.” For the darkest moments of fear and bewilderment. For those moments he is making me giggle uncontrollably and he’s laughing even though it hurts so badly. For these moments we have Jesus. For that moment of absolute relief when the doctor said, “everything went beautifully! Not a single complication.” For that moment of celebration i have Jesus. Thank you John. I thank The Lord for putting this song on your heart and bringing it to fruition. Thank you for sharing this with the world.

  • Tony Miller says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. My Mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer 13 months ago. Almost on the same day 13 years ago, my wife’s 80 year old dad – who was in charge of moving the down-markers, got hit by two college football players on an out of bounds play. His hip was crushed , his ankle broken. He has been in a wheelchair ever since.

    Diane and I had just joined the choir at Houston First Baptist Church – but have had to drop out for a while to take care of our parents.

    Through my father in law’s surgeries and my mom’s chemotherapy treatments – there have been times that we have almost lost them due to the tragedies in their lives.

    Most Pancreatic Cancer patients don’t live more than 6 months. Most 80 year old men don’t live to tell a story – like what happened to my father in law. This is only possible by the grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father.

    For this, we have Jesus!

    Tony & Diane Miller

  • Lyndallea says:

    I have been struggling with this very thing appreciate your song and words

  • Marty Lansch says:

    Thank you so much for your story and how the Lord has blessed you through music and words so that all of us can be blessed beyond measure. For this we have Jesus is so meaningful because He is the most important person in our lives. We have been experiencing challenges in the last few months and especially the last 3 weeks–Jack’s stroke and this week to find out that he has extensive heart blockage with 3 stents placed in his heart BUT through all this we have Jesus. Your words of how the song came into being are so touching and will be something to always hold onto.

  • RaNae Dykema says:

    This entire CD has been ministering to me. This song has been especially healing of my spirit during the 15 months since my husband’s stroke. Seeing Gerald’s struggles while keeping my positive attitude and strength intact has been especially difficult at times. Soon after Gerald’s stroke Pastor Gregg talked about how to weather the dark, lonely places in our lives – God provided just the message I needed at that perfect time. I told the Pastor I really needed this message and told him how through Gerald’s stroke my dark place was continually ministered to through friends and fellow choir and church members – and through that support my dark and scary place had never felt lonely or hopeless. Pastor Gregg said “Oh, your dark and scary place isn’t as dark because everyone continues to bring you torches.” EXACTLY. John, this song has ministered to me and is one of my prized “torches” I can pull out and listen to over and over again. Thank you.

  • Doris Ham says:

    John, I bought a few CD’s the Wednesday night that you presented your CD to the choir. I played one on the way home from choir practice and then on my way to work Thursday morning I continued listening to the CD. Thursday the CD started playing with the song “For This We Have Jesus” and I want you to know that I cryed all the way to work. The song made me remember the day I lost my husband to cancer, but the tears were tears of joy because we do have Jesus for times like this. I love the CD because of the truth in it and because you sing with such feeling. I gave my boss one of the CD’s and she plays it each time she gets in her car. It has been such a blessing to both of us. I also loved hearing the story behind the song. May God continue to bless you in the work you do for Him.

  • paeton wooden says:

    wow what a great story! thanks for sharing. I have a friend who needs to read that!!

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