One afternoon in 2015, Zach Cheatham went to the Grand Prairie Campus to prepare for Gateway Students. He took a guitar, found an empty office, and started to play. As he worshipped, he reflected back on a few years earlier when he and his wife, Amanda, got married. “Within two months of our wedding, we both lost our jobs, and we had a lot of friends and relatives in similar tough seasons. Yet God was faithful throughout it all,” Zach says. “As I thought about that time, I just started singing.” He decided to write a song for people in difficult times, for them to know without a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful to come to those who call on Him, no matter what. Within 10 minutes, he had written the whole song.
As he wrote the lyrics “You’ve not left my side / even in my wandering,” he thought of the story of the prodigal son and how we all have seasons where we drift or we may feel far from God, but the Bible says that the father saw the son from a long way off. “To me, that means the father was waiting all along. He never forgot, and in a sense, never left his son behind,” Zach says. “That is what has won my heart in my relationship with Jesus. How could I not give my heart to Him when He’s that way toward me?” He set the song aside and went about his day, not really thinking too much more about it. A few months later, he realized why he wrote it.
Zach went to the doctor and found out he had a cancerous tumor. He was scared out of his mind. “I’ll never forget when I called my mom, and she said, ‘Zach, you’re a worshipper. You always talk about Paul and Silas worshipping in prison in the midst of a trial,’” he says. “‘Now’s your time to put that into action.’ So I did.” Every morning after that, he grabbed his guitar and began to worship. One morning, the song “Won My Heart” started to flow out of his worship again.
He remembered God’s faithfulness in the early years of his marriage and then declared God’s faithfulness and provision in the difficult season he was currently going through, knowing God never leaves us. Now, with the cancer gone for good, he still sings this song in his personal worship time. “The bridge says, ‘Hallelujah, Hallelujah / You are great and greatly to be praised,’ and it reminds me that the enemy can take a lot of things. He can steer you off path, he can try to rob you of joy or your health,” Zach says. “But he can never steal your worship. That’s what this song means to me.”
“Won My Heart,” from Gateway’s Created to Be devotional album, Waiting on a Whisper, is available on iTunes.