Music has always been my go to touchstone with God. Sometimes when the requisite reading of scripture doesn’t serve up the desired comfort/blessing/encouragement or (insert the current felt need here), worship music can usually connect with my spirit and bring a satisfactory satiation of that longing for contact with God.
That’s why the following experience rocked me in a way that caused me to evaluate my dependence on a song to make me feel good; to meet my needs.
It is so hard to face the fact that it’s not about me. It never has been but I act like it is. But can I go through the withdrawals and dependencies on a predictable formula for relationship with God without the hard work of investing time and honoring Him just because He is worthy. It is all about Him.
Church was nearly over. The pastor handed me songbook and asked me to find one to sing before dismissing the meeting. I opened the hymnal and proceeded to look for an appropriate closing song.
As I leafed through the pages I noticed that none of them were familiar to me. I didn’t know any of them! There were lots of songs. Many were old, old obscure hymns extolling the virtues of the faith. Some were deep theological truths set to music.
Others seemed to concentrate on the beauties of nature; how the robin’s song echoes the glories of God and creation shows His handiwork. But I couldn’t sing any of them because I didn’t know them.
By this time the pastor had slid onto the piano bench to accompany the singing. I turned to him. “I don’t know any of these songs; I can’t sing them,” I said.
“Oh, I know lots of songs from that book. There are some good ones,” he said.
“But I can’t sing them because I don’t know them,” I insisted. I looked again, but it was no use. Nothing was familiar;
I had no song that I could sing.
I woke up. A song that I knew well had been in my mind and heart for about a week. I found it on YouTube and played it.
Tears came quickly. This, this was a song I could sing. “To Him Who Sits on the Throne and Unto the Lamb, Be Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power Forever!”
My ability to find a song in life has usually been a process but never lost for long. With the ups and downs of typical spiritual struggles and victories, there have been those high, joyous experiences with God of emotional exuberance.
There have been times of wrestling with self and the dark night of the soul. In time though, the sun would break through and a song would lift me out of seeming despair.
Now here, at the ending of the service; perhaps a metaphor of the late summer of my life, I found myself unable to find a song. Except that the only song I can sing is one extolling His praises.
It is not one found in a codified hymnal disconnected from the realities of life. Not a song about God but a song to God.
It turns the attention away from me and the facts of what I know, or don’t know, and in spite of that gives praise to Him Who sits on the Throne.