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There are moments when God's children may experience times of deep darkness when dreams are shattered and hopes are seemingly lost. Maybe you are in a situation right now where your troubles flow like a rushing stream and God seems far away. Perhaps your own mistakes have caused some of the problems or maybe there are reasons that will not be fully understood until we see the Master face to face.
In Psalms 137, the children of Israel were led away to captivity in Babylon. Their harps were hung on the willows by the riverside. Their captors tormented them by asking God's people to sing the "Songs of Zion" in a strange land. Their spirits were broken and the music had stopped. The psalmist says that they sat down and wept when they remembered Zion.
Yes, there are those periods when the night is so bleak that even the nightingale seems hushed. Yet, even in the worst periods of life, God still is the one who gives songs in the night. He is the one who gives joy that is unspeakable and peace that passes all understanding. At those times when our lips cannot voice the notes of music and praise, God's Spirit makes a melody in our hearts.
When Christians sing songs of worship to God in the midst of disappointments, they are singing with a faith that says despite circumstances, God is still in control and worthy of praise and adoration, with a faith that recognizes that despite any defeats along the way, ultimate victory is without question.
It would be great if life was always a big celebration and our worship was always filled with unbridled joy and enthusiasm, but life is a journey that travels the mountaintops and the valleys. The music of the Eternal is a fountain that flows deeper than any pain and hardships that are encountered along the pilgrim path to the Father.
Are you at one of these dark periods in your life? Do not be ashamed! Bring your honest burdens to the Lord. Lay them at His feet. Sing to God songs of devotion and praise, not because you are pretending that your trials do not exist, but because you recognize the eternal goodness of God whose mercy is forever new and never ending. Look to the Savior who says, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
If it seems that your music has stopped, look to the Lord, who is near to the brokenhearted. He will restore your song!
James M. Stevens
Senior Music and Culture Advisor