You know I’ve been mentioning assignments of late, well tonight is a very interesting one as I have to complete another one. I believe it really is the last proper assignment that I’ll have to do for a while, so if I can put in the effort over the next hour or so then I should be fine. Trouble is, I’ve been grappling with it since about 2pm this afternoon and that’s a rather long time to be dealing with an assignment that in other worlds I could polish off in a few hours. Such is the life of a man with a lot on his mind.
So what to do when there’s much on the mind? What to do when you’re in a challenging spot in life? Well sing a song of course! Even thinking about it in the run up to doing this blog piece as an illuminative ad-break from the assignment I chuckled at that whole concept. You’re in a spot of bother so sing a song. The Bible is replete with episodes of that happening. Whether it’s the suggestion of the prophet of God to Jehoshaphat when they were going out to war, or the response of the people in the Exodus on making it through the Red Sea as their enemy was flushed out.
The most outstanding episode that springs to mind is the one with Paul and Silas in Acts 16 who have just had the snot beaten out of them as punishment for upsetting the social order with their scandalous gospel talk. So then whilst locked up and presumably coughing and spluttering from the beatings they have received, what better way to pass the time behind bars than to sing a song or two.
Now I obviously don’t have a clue what they were singing. For most people the highlight is the bit afterwards where the earthquake comes and gives the prisoners a chance to do a runner. The guard wants to kill himself only to have Paul and Silas reassuring him that there’s no break-out today and there a gospel invitation is given and the guard and his family get in the business. That’s worth a big shout out right there and then. That’s great to see.
I’m still stuck on the singing business, though. Now the Praise and Worship fanatics will make a big deal of the usual mantra ‘when the praises go up, the blessings comes down’ and do the spiritual hokey-cokey and turn around because that’s what it’s all about. Sing a song – praise Him and He turns up and everything’s alright.
There are of course elements of truth in this glorious approach to life with God. There is however, something about singing a song that doesn’t just put our spiritual debit card to withdraw a blessing from God. There is something in singing a song that turns the words into the melody of the heart that brings them to life, giving them feeling and power that sometimes on their own would not be possible at all.
What it also engenders is presence. For as many people who have experienced ‘victory’ in praise, there are others who through singing a song endure and keep their hope set in God even when the circumstances continue to look dim only because of the Presence it engenders. It’s almost as though as we sing our hearts are intimately connected with the One who gave us the song in the first place. It’s no longer a matter of ‘getting results’ but it’s a reminder of where our first love rests. Music is surely powerful in evoking those sentiments of the soul and heart.
So it comes to me on this Sunday evening with loads on my plate mentally speaking. No I’ve not been beaten physically and imprisoned, but the last year or so has been rather harrowing on occasion. As things build up to the current day there is a great temptation to become overwhelmed with it all, until someone throws a song my way.
No ordinary song as you can hear, but one that says it is more than understandable to have issues. It is life to have many cares and then to deal with them is to follow the advice of Psalm 55:22, which Pete would repeat later on – throw those cares on God. Literally pick them up and throw them in God’s direction and having done so rest assured (two words that really need to be embedded into our psyche) that God Himself will keep us going. Not only will we keep going, but we won’t fall.
Now on that point I think it’s important to be very clear that the kind of fall I envisage hear is very much like the walking over a cliff fall – as in a fatal fall. God allows slip ups, but He will not let His righteous ones fall (especially from that height). So at this hour with things cracking off left, right and centre, I just sing a song and I am reminded of His wonderful love for me and His presence with me, so that I need not carry my cares at all.
A dear friend of mine gave me those words of assurance that I could let go of all the stuff that I’ve been carrying. He was confirming this verse. I can let go of it all, I can throw it at God’s feet and rest assured of His sustaining work in my life. It will literally be not me carrying myself or keeping myself going by sheer power of my will. It is God keeping me going. That is the reality for my situation. He is sustaining me. He is enabling me to keep on loving my wife and children. He is enabling me to keep up with my responsibilities … like finishing assignments on time. He and He alone is doing this and I am so glad that He is.
For His Name's Sake