"Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him. " Psalm 98:1 (NIV)
Music was huge in our family growing up. Nicol and Todd, my siblings, have made careers singing professionally. My baby brother, Jack, is a music minister at a church up in Michigan. I sang with the family until I was twenty-one, when I put my foot down and told my father that I was not going to put myself through the nausea of fright from singing solo in front of a group. I have sung lullabies over my children, but have rarely done anything public since then.
How thankful I have been in the times of mourning that our family has had since this spring for the wonderful words of hymns from my childhood. I can remember learning these in the church in which my parents served for thirteen years before we went to Congo. We would hear them over and over again in the churches that we visited as a family raising support for my parents' work in the Congo. Music has the power to transcend the spoken or even written word. I will be forever grateful for those church services in which the music leader has us sing all four stanzas of the chosen hymn. The words learned so long ago have been such a comfort to me in the valleys of my life.
I can be in the depths of grief and the Holy Spirit will whisper a line from a song I thought I had forgotten so long ago. I have realized how much of my theological knowledge, before I started studying the Scriptures myself, came from the old hymns. On Sunday nights in Congo, we would gather around our piano and sing the hymns with my beautiful mother playing. I can hear a certain song and be taken back to the living room in Congo and a simpler time. There have been times that nothing has been able to lift me out of the doldrums of life but a hymn. We can't afford to let our children grow up without the knowledge of these gems. These songs can comfort, admonish, and encourage when nothing else can.
Are you feeling down today, my friend? Pick up a hymnal and start singing. Watch how quickly our God rescues us when His praise is on our lips!
Jesus, thank you so much for the gift of music in my life. What amazing power a song has to lift the clouds of despair or heaviness. May I pass this precious gift of the knowledge of the hymns on to my children before they leave the nest.