devotionals

Singing in Hard Times

How are we to respond to hard times? One answer is: Song.

In Psalm 59, David recounted the events of 1 Samuel 19, where King Saul attempted to kill him. David prayed for rescue from his enemies and for them to be brought low. Yet, even though David was forced to flee his home and family, he still declared:

I will sing of your strength 
and will joyfully proclaim 
your faithful love in the morning.
~Psalm 59:16

And why did David sing? Because even in his trouble he saw God as a refuge (59:16) and stronghold (59:17). Even in the midst of suffering, David would call God My faithful God, because he knew that trials did not mean that God had abandoned him or turned away.

When we find ourselves in the midst of suffering and trouble, then, we should still sing praise to God. The songs of faith, after all, accomplish several things. First, they remind us of God’s faithfulness to us. Many of the songs that we learn in church were written through the joys, trials, and tears of the authors. It Is Well, for example, was written by Horatio Spafford after the tragic death of his children. [1] The way other followers of Jesus responded to trials and pain in this world can be an encouragement to us of God’s faithfulness in the midst of the storms.

Second, they allow us to praise God beyond our circumstances. For many of us, the trials we face day in and day out, will not be as drastic as those of Spafford. Nonetheless, they cause real pain, grief, and disruptions to our lives. Yet, the Bible continually reminds us that life is bigger than the moment. Often when God worked his plan for his people, he took days, or years, or even centuries. Sometimes the fulfillment of good that was promised came generations after the death of the one who heard the promise. God operates through our experience of time, but he does so with eternity in view.

He is the Author of the beginning and the end. He is everywhere and everytime present through it all. We see in part; he sees in full. Our understanding is a speck of dust in a vast universe compared to his.

Yet with this in mind, God never tells us to ignore or get over the pain and grief. He walks with us through it. But he also wants us to understand that bigger things are happening beyond the moment. As Paul wrote in Romans 8, he is working all things for the good of those he loves, including our trials and struggles.

Good songs of faith remind us of these truths and help us to focus our mind beyond the moment to the bigness of God, his purpose, and his plan.

So, let us remember to sing, even in the hard times.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul

This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2020 Bible Reading Calendar. All Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible.

Image credit: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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