ODJ: singing through sadness

February 8, 2016 

READ: Lamentations 3:19-24 

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease (vv.20-22).

Our young daughter has developed the habit of singing whenever I cut her toenails. Her musical expression seems to shift her focus from the instinct to pull her foot away to the joy of happy melodies. Research has proven the physiological, neurological, and emotional benefits of singing. So belting out your favorite tune will help elevate your mood, boost your immune system, and benefit your brain.

On the other hand, a lament is a sad song or poem set to music—a passionate expression of grief born out of regret or mourning and, although gloomy, can also bring hope and peace. The prophet Jeremiah, often referred to as the weeping prophet (Jeremiah 9:10), expressed laments following the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of his people to Babylon (Lamentations 1:1-4).

Jeremiah admitted that his nation’s deliberate disobedience led to the awful consequences faced by the people of Judah and Jerusalem (v.5). He frequently warned them of God’s wrath, urging repentance and a turning back to Him (Jeremiah 6:10-11; 18:11-12). But they refused to listen and so found their city destroyed and their families taken into Babylonian exile (1 Chronicles 9:1).

The prophet cries until the tears will no longer come. His heart is broken and his spirit poured out in agony as he sees the desperate plight of his people (Lamentations 2:11). Jeremiah experiences hope, however, as he remembers God’s faithful love that never ends and His mercies that never cease (3:22-24).

In your darkest hour when all hope seems lost, sing and make music in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). Even a lament will remind you to put your hope in a faithful God who’s working everything together for your good (Romans 8:28).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Exodus 9:8-10:29

Read the laments found in Psalms 13 and 30, and see how the psalmist encourages us to put our hope in God no matter the circumstances. 
What song of hope will you sing to God today? How can you help others see the hope we have in Jesus?