What song is on your heart today? Is it one that you love that you keep playing over and over because you can’t get enough of it, or is it one of those songs that you keep trying to get out of your head because it’s sort of annoying?
When I taught fourth grade, we spent hours practicing the musical play Gold Dust or Bust. The songs were quite cute and catchy, but honestly after singing them over and over, day after day, I became VERY tired of them. To this day, if I hear one of those songs, it sticks in my mind for hours, making me crazy as I try to put anything else in my head. But when a song I love is stuck in my mind, the opposite happens. My whole day can seem happier.
Recently, I’ve been earnestly seeking God’s wisdom and clarity about things which I don’t have answers. After days of praying, I still have uncertainties. It would be easy for me to think that means God hasn’t heard me or isn’t answering me. But, I know God hears and answers. He promises that in many places of the Bible, like in the book of Jeremiah:
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13
And also in Psalm 86:7: “When I am in distress I call to you because you answer me.”
Since I know God keeps his promises, I wait to hear his answer. What I often find is that his answer is much different than I expect. I think I often have a solution in my head that I think will work, and as a result, I can question what God is telling me. One thing I am always working on remembering is that whether I understand what’s happening doesn’t matter. It’s WHO I understand that matters. In other words, if I understand who God is and that he is always watching, protecting, and guiding, I can let go of having all the answers.
In my recent prayers for guidance, as I said, I haven’t received any specific instructions on what to do, but what I did receive is a song in my head, one that kept repeating over and over and would not leave. So instead of dismissing it, I wondered if maybe this song was the answer to my prayer for now, or maybe for always. Fortunately, it wasn't a Gold Dust or Bust tune, so I didn't mind listening to it more carefully to see if God had an answer for me there.
The song is “Gratitude” by Brandon Lake. (Listen to it if you haven’t heard it. You won’t be disappointed!) I definitely found an answer in these words.
The song begins like this:
All my words fall short
I got nothing new
How could I express
All my gratitude.
I could sing these songs
As I often do
But every song must end
And you never do
So I throw up my hands
And praise you again and again
Cause al that I have is
And I now it’s not much
But I’ve nothing else fit for a king
Except for a heart singing hallelujah
Later on, the song says this:
So come on, my soul
Oh, don’t you get shy on me
Lift up your song
‘Cause you’ve got a lion
Inside of those lungs
Get up and praise the Lord
So where, you might ask, are the answers I’ve been seeking? Where is the clarity and specific instructions for my concerns?
The answer is really quite simple. The answer is looking up and praising God in the midst of any confusion or overwhelm I might feel. Because quite honestly, no matter what I do, one thing is a sure thing – God’s presence, God’s provision, God’s promises for me and for you. By looking up to him and thanking him, praising him simply for who he is, I am focusing on the one who can solve my problems rather than focusing on the problems, and I believe that has the power to cast away anything that tries to bring me down. After all, it’s what Jesus did when he was in the wilderness, right?
Luke 4:5-8 says:
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
If Jesus remembered this in a wilderness moment, I need to remember it too. No matter what, this is a direction I can follow. I can worship instead of worry and that will never be a bad choice. My encouragement to everyone reading this today is to do the same thing. Whatever you’re going through, take a moment to give some praise and thanks to God. Thank him for simply being who he is, always. You can do this with a song, or through words of your own in prayer, through art, or writing, or walking, or really in any way that you want. In the part of the song where it says, “Come on my soul, oh don’t you get shy on me. Lift up your song cause you’ve got a lion inside of those lungs. Get up and praise the Lord,” I’m reminded that we all have a song in our hearts, and we all have a lion inside our lungs to get that song out and claim who God is. I think one of my lions is my writing. I can write and share who God is with others or I can write in a journal that only God sees. Either way, I can use my words to praise him.
What is your “lion,” the thing you love to do that you can do in praise of God?
However you do it, you can trust he will show up and stay with you. As the song says, “But every song must end and you never do.” That is the only answer to prayer we truly ever need.
May you be blessed with the awareness of his presence today and everyday.
This post happens to be the first in a series of posts connected to music. The main character of my upcoming novel Finding True North aspires to find her way as a singer, just like we all seek to find our way in this world. Subscribe to my email list if you haven’t already and want to receive more of these writings.
“Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.”- Psalm 96:1-3