"I need a sign to let me know you're here/'Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear/I want a reason for the way things have to be/I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me"
— from "Calling All Angels"

For Train founder Patrick Monahan, the rock star lifestyle initially included drug and alcohol abuse. With role models such as Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and The Beatles, the aspiring artist assumed such vices were necessary to inspire creativity. After years of struggles and frustrations, Monahan eventually changed his way of thinking. He cleaned up his act and left his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania for San Francisco, where he formed the Grammy Award–winning rock band Train, best known for their smash hit "Drops of Jupiter."

How things have changed since those wild days of youth. Compared to most pop/rock bands, Train is downright wholesome, espousing themes of commitment and family values along with the typical subjects of romance and life struggles. "I'm a 34–year–old guy," Monahan said in an interview with Cleveland.com. "I'm not an 18–year–old kid playing punk rock, drinking booze and smoking weed every night. I already did that. That's not what I want in my life. I want to be a great friend, husband and dad."

Such sentiments crop up in many of Train's songs, often autobiographical for Monahan. "I'm About to Come Alive," from My Private Nation, is a heartfelt outpouring of a man determined to live out his obligations as a loving father and husband. But even more intriguing is Train's willingness to explore matters of faith. The band's mainstream hit, "Calling All Angels" (excerpted above) is a response to tragedy and a fallen world, likely inspired in part by the events of 9/11. A song of faith and hope, it can be interpreted in a couple of ways. Monahan told Cleveland.com he didn't envision angels in a biblical sense, but as a call to action for all of us to practice more random acts of kindness to one another. Either perspective fits in with a Christian worldview.

When Monahan sings "I need a sign," it's less an expression of doubt than it is a plea for reassurance–similar to Styx's 1990 inspirational hit "Show Me the Way." The line "I won't give up, if you don't give up" may simply be intended to encourage peace among the nations, but it might also be viewed as a pledge to a merciful and patient God. Regardless of the multiple takes, there's little question the song is ultimately directed to God. The video even shows the band treading a bleak wasteland with the heavens eventually opening to shower the world with light.

Another example of faith on My Private Nation can be found in the chorus of "When I Look to the Sky," which reads like something found on Christian adult contemporary radio: "'Cause when I look to the sky something tells me you're here with me/And you make everything alright/And when I feel like I'm lost something tells me you're here with me/And I can always find my way when you are here." Though the song is actually about the passing of a loved one and the hope of eternal life beyond this world, it's still an expression of faith–though faith in what, only Monahan can say.

Train may not be the most obvious example of a "Glimpse of God," but they are one of the most well–known, thanks in great part to the success of "Calling All Angels," which at least gets people thinking about faith, hope, and love. That such a song could so easily find a home on mainstream radio is surely an indicator of society's increasing openness to those themes.

Unless specified clearly, we are not implying whether this artist is or is not a Christian. The views expressed are simply the author's. For a more complete description of our Glimpses of God articles, click here.