ODJ: Something in a Song

November 19, 2017 

READ: Psalm 42:1-11 

Each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs (v.8).

For years, Denise referred warmly to her sibling Carolyn as “my little sister”. Carolyn faced significant cognitive challenges, but she loved life and brought joy to everyone who knew her. She loved Jesus too!

When their mother died, Denise gladly took care of Carolyn. But when Carolyn died, Denise struggled tremendously—especially since the death was due to hospital error. For months, she questioned God. Silence.

Then one day, God answered. It was Sunday morning, and a church soloist stood to sing Carolyn’s favourite song: “The Old Rugged Cross”.

“That was it!” says Denise. “I was at peace, because I knew that Carolyn was at peace.”

A song can be so powerful! Music unites our whole being—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual. The right rhythms and chord progressions can touch the places we don’t often go. Lyrics paired well with harmonies give voice to what we always knew was there but couldn’t articulate. Music laments. Music celebrates. Music heals. No doubt that’s why songs appear throughout the Bible. Music is simultaneously human and a gift from God.

We don’t know who wrote Psalm 42, but we can identify with the poet’s lyrics. “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God,” he declares (v.1). When he confesses, “I have only tears for food” (v.3), we understand. We relate when he writes, “My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be” (v.4).

But then, he recognises where he must turn. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again” (vv.5-6).

Wherever you are today, and whatever you long for, may the God of song give voice to your lament as well as to your praise!

—Tim Gustafson

365-day-plan: Acts 28:15-31

Check out a sampling of songs in the Bible: David’s elegy for a general (2 Samuel 3:33-34); the “harlot’s lament” (Isaiah 23:15-16); Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55); and the song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15:3-4 
What song most speaks to you today? How has God touched your heart through music?