Discovering the Power of Singing to God
But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.
I am one of those peculiar people who wakes up with a song in my head. It happens almost every morning. And it's almost impossible to predict what song will be echoing inside of me. Sometimes I recognize a song I recently heard in a concert or in church. But, often, the strangest songs show up, songs I haven't heard or thought of for years, songs that seem to have nothing to do with anything sensible at all.
For example, a couple of years ago while leading a retreat at Laity Lodge, I woke up in the morning singing to myself, "We represent the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild. And in the name of the Lollipop Guild, we wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land." For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why this song came to haunt me. I had not seen The Wizard of Oz for years. I hadn't thought about it for years. I hadn't been eating lollipops. The people at the retreat weren't unusually short. I concluded that I have a bizarre brain.
According to Psalm 59, David woke up in the morning singing to God: "But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress" (v. 16). This song was perfectly suited to David's dire situation. The previous verses of Psalm 59 show us that he was being pursued by his enemies, who were "snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets" (v. 14). David chose to sing of God's power, to celebrate God's unfailing love each morning, not only to offer praise to God, but also to encourage David's own heart. He needed to know, deep down inside, that God was with him and would protect him.
Music has the power to engage our minds and move our hearts. Lyrics filled with God's truth express what we believe and move the truth into our souls. Thus, when we find ourselves in trying times, when we are filled with doubt or fear, when our enemies, both literal and figurative, harass us, we would be well served to imitate David's example in Psalm 59. Not only should we cry out to God for help, but also we should sing to God. Like David, we will be comforted and encouraged if we sing of God's power, love, and protection.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever been comforted or encouraged by a song that celebrates God's power and grace? When? If you were to sing a song to God right now, what song might it be? Why?
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me! Amen.
"Great is Thy Faithfulness" by Thomas Chisholm (1923). I have often sung this song in times of trial or discouragement. Image is of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.