Zephaniah 3:16-17 (NLT)
On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
When our last child was born, she entered this world with a sour disposition. She was mad. My first induction, I do believe that she was insulted by the intrusion when her contract clearly gave her three more weeks in the quietness and security of the womb. Instead, she was evicted and I truly think she felt it a clear violation. Knowing her now and the need for justice deep within her, she was only voicing her displeasure at the time. The nurse laughed at how mad our little bundle of “joy” was. Ironically, her middle name is Joy. The only comfort that she found acceptable from the beginning was to be held close to my chest as I would sing softly to her. Little did I know that I was about to learn that “colic” is real after years of parental doubts surrounding the phenomena. My sweet little girl experienced high highs and low lows throughout the day seldom with a peaceful transition. She was too hot or too cold, too hungry or too full, too happy or too sad if there is such a thing. Each afternoon around 3:30 PM, it would begin the constant and perpetual screaming and fussing for no reason. It would continue throughout the night unless she was somehow strapped against my chest. Clearly this was God’s Word for my life that this would be my last child…if I survived the experience. Each night I would rock her for hours on end afraid to stop and wake her. As I rocked, I would sing and pray over her. I was afraid that our relationship might not be the same because of this constant cycle and my lack of sleep. I would pray over her continuously that God would give her peace deep within and quiet her restless soul that couldn’t be content without such intervention. Around the age of two, she began to communicate with us. She could now express her wants, needs and desires. The transformation was instantaneous. Now I chuckle as I hear her sing in the shower at the top of her lungs, traumatizing her siblings. Maybe that is just a little my own fault, but now I love to hear it because she is happy and joyful most of the time.
“He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” I believe that the Lord is always singing over us. He is not worried about tomorrow. He knows our needs are met. His Hand of protection, love and comfort always around us. However, there are days in our life when we are unaware of His Pervading Presence all around us. Overcome by fears and doubts, we long for the comfort of someone who we can count on. When our son left for the Middle East to serve his country for a year, I sought a verse to pray over him and this is the one that the Lord laid on my heart. I pictured him sleeping in a makeshift bunker somewhere in a land where people hated him and wanted to end his life. I wanted him to feel God’s Presence and know that he was there in those moments when his pride would not allow him to admit it. God is not only among us but in us. He takes delight in you with gladness thanks to His Son, Jesus. Jesus is a Mighty Savior who has overcome the world. The Lord wants us to be fearless in this life. So He sings over us. Do you hear Him today? Do you sense His Close Proximity? You can.
Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT)
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.
There is something about music that calms us. I know that when I am overwhelmed with life, stressed out by my situation or overcome by circumstances that I know where to go to get my heart and mind right. I plug in the headphones and turn on praise & worship music. I know that I have to be where He is. I have to hear the Lord’s Voice so that He can change my mind about what I see to embrace what He is doing by faith according to what I believe. Sometimes just shutting out the noise of this world that reinforces greed, self-seeking and self-gratification to enter His Presence to find that He is all we need changes our mind before our situation changes. I need to be reminded of His Love in a heartless and cruel world bent on crushing my faith and devouring my hope in the Lord. I will not find it in this world. I can only find such peace, joy, contentment and satisfaction in the Lord. When my daughter was a baby, anyone could feed her a bottle or change her diaper. They could all meet her natural needs, but when night time fell and the crying set in – only mama would do. I don’t know why it worked out that way, but I know how she feels. Sometimes nothing can comfort us like He can. But if we do not seek His Presence, sit on His Lap and let His Love surround us – we will not have what we need in that moment that keeps us hanging on. Those who put their trust in the Lord are given a new song because they wander close enough to hear Him singing over them.
Psalm 98 (NLT)
Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power! The Lord has announced his victory and has revealed his righteousness to every nation! He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel. The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song, with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.
For many years, I listened to nothing but Jesus music. You know praise & worship, gospel or contemporary Christian music. It was never a religious choice just like to feel that connection to the Lord that I do when singing of His Grace and Love. However, working out sometimes I needed the boost of the beat of other music. All I can say is oh my goodness, those lyrics. Not to sound like my mother or grandmother but they are quite awful for the most part. There is very little uplifting about secular music most of the time. We must be careful about what we listen to as it feeds our mind, spirit and soul. What goes in is what comes out. We have so many things to praise the Lord about. His Songs lift us, encourage us and empower us to keep walking with Him. I love riding in the car listening to my daughter’s sing along with the radio. They love the car dance parties. Living a Christian life is not about being boring and the buzz kill, it is all about Jesus. He is worthy to sing with. His Song for us is worth hearing. When the world leaves me tired, empty and wanting – He fills every void. He loves me. He sings over me. What if I learned to join that song every day? What if during my prayer time when words escape me – I just whispered a song to Him? I wonder what would happen if I filled the quiet of my isolation with songs of praise and adoration for my Lord? Well, for Paul and Silas it opened the door to the jail – literally. I believe it could end our oppression and isolation forever as we discover in that moment that the Lord has been with us, rejoicing over us and singing the whole time!
Revelation 14:1-4 (NLT)
Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of mighty ocean waves or the rolling of loud thunder. It was like the sound of many harpists playing together. This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been purchased from among the people on the earth as a special offering to God and to the Lamb.
During those long, dark nights with my discontent and screaming child, I would sing old hymns and every praise song I could remember. I needed the Lord to come and encourage me that I was not a terrible mother who couldn’t meet the needs of her child. I needed to know that He was with me strengthening me in my total exhaustion. I was overwhelmed. He was there. When I was in the hospital with our son during his bone marrow transplant for weeks, watching him fight for the life that the Lord had promised him, I would put in my headphones and search YouTube and other websites for uplifting worship music to escape the suffering and pain that he was experiencing. I needed the Lord’s reassurance. Each time the Lord met me in that place and sang with me. He let His Love flow over me with the revelation of who He is and how very much He loves me. When I read this passage today, it made my heart jump. Now I am pretty sure I am not designated to be one of the 144,000 that the Word speaks of but I want to be like them. “They have kept themselves as pure virgins, following the Lamb wherever He goes.” I want to be that special offering to God. It seems that this new song they speak of is important in making such a sacrifice with my life. I cannot do anything for the Lord to bring Him joy other than love Him, trust Him and follow Him. It seems so shallow and insignificant until I join in praise and worship with others being whisked away into His Presence. It is there His Love overtakes me and I am reminded there is so much more to life than what I am experiencing and going through. My Father loves me. He is rejoicing over me. I must live to hear His Song.
Revelation 5:8-14 (NLT)
And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.” Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.