Will God be there?

“Will You Be There” is a song by Michael Jackson which was released as a in 1993, it is part of the album Dangerous and also appeared on the soundtrack to Free Willy. The speaker is clearly Michael Jackson himself, or anyone placed in the difficult situations he was in when composing this song. However, the audience of the song is a strange one indeed, nothing of this world makes sense to be the true audience – except for God. When looked at in this fashion, this song turns into a plea for divine help from someone in the darkest times of his life. The song begins:

Hold me
Like the River Jordan

After doing some digging, we find that the River Jordan is a sacred river, whose waters have a spiritual significance that make it distinct from other rivers. It is also supposedly the place where Jesus was baptized, so we can conclude that Michael Jackson is personally asking God for him to be held metaphorically like he was on the first day he entered into his religion. Towards the end of the song, Jackson asks for forgiveness claiming:

But I’m only human

These few words can be taken to mean many different things. The simplest meaning or the most literal is that Jackson is complaining about the strict standards for men in today’s society mentioned earlier in the song. However, it can also be seen that in this line, the speaker is letting go, completely giving up, recognizing that the problem is out of his hands and placing the burden on God’s shoulders. After all this drama buildup, the last two lines bring in a hopeful and much needed twist:

You’ll be there for me
And care enough to bear me

These lines can serve as a volta, similar to a sonnet, where the problem and the emotional intensity and dissatisfaction become resolved at a divine epiphany at the end, very often immortalizing or idealizing some kind of love or person, which is exactly what happens with these lines, in which Jackson gives an affirmative answer to the question “Will you be there?”

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