You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
I’m getting a little tired of hospitals. Don’t get me wrong, I honor and appreciate all that doctors and nurses and other staff do at hospitals. It just seems like recently the only occasion I’ve had for going to the hospital is to comfort families who are about to lose a loved one. I am finding that silence–just simple presence–is as much a help as Bible verses and vocal prayers. Last night, as we stood outside for a vigil, all I could think of was to quietly sing a prayer, and the song I sang was based on the verse above.
I suppose I could think of nothing else because, in a time and place like that, I truly saw my dependence upon the Lord God. When all other things in our lives have failed, when it seems as if we are laid bare to the world, the Lord is the only shelter left to us. God alone can heal our bodies and our hearts. God alone can lift us out of despair and fear. God alone can comfort us when there seems to be no comfort left in the world. We hide in Him, our Rock, our strong tower, our fortress, our Redeemer.
Of course, knowing that God will preserve us from trouble doesn’t mean we shall never see trouble. It doesn’t mean we will never face sorrow or pain. What it means is that when such things as death and tragedy come our way, He will be our strength and our shield, and His shall be the song that comes to our lips when all else has failed. (Psalms 28:7) Through every moment of our lives, God is watching and caring, and His love never leaves us, no matter what we face, no matter how doubtful we become. (Romans 8:38-39) If we trust in Him, rely and depend on Him, then He will preserve and keep us through the fiercest trials and storms.
But did you know that God sings? The verse above isn’t the only one that says He does.
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17 “The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
It is no wonder that Moses and David both sang “The LORD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” (Exodus 15:2, Psalms 118:14) God’s song of deliverance surrounds us and lifts us out of the depths. He alone knows the melody of salvation, the harmony of mercy, the chords of grace. In times of great sorrow and trouble, when our own words fail and our hearts cannot speak, God’s Holy Spirit speaks and sings for us, petitioning our Father in heaven for salvation and strength.
Last night, I really didn’t know what else to do except to fall upon God’s grace and mercy, to appeal to the Lord in the only way I knew how. In Scripture, we are told to pray when we are troubled and sing psalms when we are cheerful (James 5:13), but I think we ought always to be ready to sing the Lord’s song whenever our own prayers and songs have left us, whether in good times or in bad.
My mind is still singing that song this morning, and I suppose it will stay with me a while. And well it should, because that song comes from the Word of God, its lyrics were first spoken by God’s Holy Spirit into the heart of His servant David. What better song might I sing?
My prayer for everyone reading this today would be that they should return to the Word of God, return to the old hymns and songs that come straight from the Bible. Learn the words, find your own melodies if you must. And when all else seems darkness, when the fire and storm seems louder than the still, small voice of God, then sing. Sing His Word, sing His psalms, sing songs of deliverance and salvation. Even sing songs of thanksgiving for His love. Sing of His grace and His tender mercies. And never forget to sing of His Son, Christ Jesus, who came to us, was slain, and was raised again into glory. Sing those songs, be comforted, and know that God, too, is gently singing along.
Gracious Lord God, thank You for giving me the words to speak and to sing when my own heart could not find them. Thank You for Your love upon grieving families, Your forgiveness for our own failings, Your grace that sustains us all. May Your songs always be upon our lips, O Lord, and whatever our circumstances, may we never fail to praise You. Amen.