‘The LORD God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory’ (Isaiah 12:2, NLT).
I love to sing. It has been in my blood since I was a child. My mum sang, and her mum before her.
Before serving with MAF, I worked for a music charity and was privileged to use singing as my main tool for drawing out the treasure in young people.
I did that for over ten years, and I saw first-hand the therapeutic power found in singing.
Have you heard the saying, ‘I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing’? Singing brings such joy!
It also helps us express feelings that are hidden; communicating in a way in which a spoken word might struggle. It gives us permission to mourn. It empowers and unites.
How many of us hear a song which takes up right back to a moment in our past? We don’t just hear it, we feel it. We connect with it, mind, body and spirit.
In the same way that I used singing as a tool to help young people express their feelings, build unity with others and increase their confidence and self-esteem, I believe God uses singing as a tool to equip us and enable us through the journey of life.
We all go through different seasons. We experience hills and valleys, with – we hope – some flat ground in-between.
This season is difficult for so many of us. Political instability, countries at war, the cost of living crisis, NHS delays — the list goes on and on. Believers aren’t immune to the challenges of life.
Having had ongoing health issues for the past nine years, I sometimes feel like I’m stuck in the waiting room, wrestling with the uncertainty of what is to come. It’s also hard when you don’t have a ‘choice’ in it. I’m sure I’m not alone in having these frustrations.
But you know what we can choose? We can choose the song we play in that waiting room. We can choose to fix our eyes on the One who redeems, heals, comforts and protects.
King David knew the power of song. His psalms are ones of prayer, praise, struggle and lament.
As a fellow worshipper, I often find myself at the keyboard, with my Bible open at the Psalms. It’s a place where I can dwell with my Lord, held in the hands of ‘melody and truth’. It’s a place where I can be carried beyond my circumstances into a realm of hope and joy.
Even in times of deep grief, moments spent in song can bring you consciously into His company, where you are known, safe and loved. So I sing…
One day, inspired by Psalm 40, I sang:
‘I waited patiently for the Lord to help me — and He turned to me and heard my cry. He pulled me out of the pit of loneliness and placed my feet upon a rock — gave me a new song to sing…
‘A song of love is on my lips for you, my King, there’s a melody of fragrant perfume — birthing in my heart.’
When I sing this song, it’s a declaration of what I know to be true — calling it out.
The Bible is full of songs like this, and they feed your spirit. May I encourage you to take these truths and add your own melody? It’s a beautiful partnership that doesn’t need a degree in music. And when you do let it all go, you’ll find the treasure, you’ll find a new song.
Now, when I sing, I take my eyes off my own situation. Instead, I see beauty, wholeness and hope. I see the King of Kings — the mighty God — so big and majestic, so strong and powerful.
I see Him smile — His eyes of fire burning. I feel His touch, His embrace. I feel safe, and know that I am in His hands. I know His peace.
Instead of fearing the unknown, I wait expectantly to see what God has got in store.
Despite everything that’s going on in the world, I do believe that He will bring beauty from the ashes of this turbulent time.
So, I remain. I sing. I worship. I am still. I fix my eyes on His beauty and His truth. And I wait patiently.
In Acts 16, we read about Paul and Silas in prison and how, just after midnight, they began to pray and worship. Then God sent an earthquake, and the prisoners were set free.
The thing that really grabs me is that, although their chains fell off, Paul and Silas chose to remain and, as a result, the prison guard encountered the love of God in a life-saving, life-changing, life enhancing way.
The brokenness of this world requires us, as God’s representatives, to sing a new song. It also requires us to remain. Our songs are not just about the peace we experience, but the freedom it brings to others.
Take some time with God to find your new song for this season.
You will be blessed and strengthened, and you never know how powerful and freeing it might be for someone else.
Let’s sing the freedom song together!