Sing Through Your Sorrow

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody! (Psalm 57:7)

Singing infuses strength to our inner person, as it gently applies healing truth to our hurting hearts. However, sometimes, our emotions don’t seem very cooperative. We don’t always feel like singing. When this is the case, we need to make a conscious choice to sing to the Lord, even when we don’t feel ready. This need is seen in the connection of singing to sorrow, as a means of activating faith in times of lament. This is a common theme in the Bible.

In addition to the above Scripture, consider a few more “I will sing” examples.

I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13:6

But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.

Psalm 59:16

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Psalm 63:5–7

David wrote Psalm 57 during one of those rough times when he didn’t necessarily feel like singing. Most likely he was fleeing from King Saul, and overtaken by fear. His mind multiplied, maybe even exaggerated, the number of his enemies. Regardless of the number, though, to him they were like “lions” and “fiery beasts,” describing them as men “whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords”
(Psalm 57:4).

You can learn from David’s response. Notice how he works through his hurts and fears. In the face of real and potential threats, he pleads with God for mercy, and determines to hide in the shadow of God’s wings until “the storms of destruction pass by” (Psalm 57:1). But as he waits for God’s deliverance, David is not passive. Instead he feeds his faith by determining to sing to God. “I will sing and make melody.” His choice to sing flowed from his faith, but also fed into his faith. It was a circular motion. Singing to and about the Lord helped his heart to remain steadfast, anchored to the God of joy.

For the Christian, this is the way it is. Joys and hurts are mixed, mingled together, on life’s journey. Sorrow moves us toward the source of true joy—hope in Jesus. The reality of hope in Jesus keeps our joy afloat in times of sorrow. Because of this connection, God-centered music can be a conduit for healing grace.

The discipline of singing to the Lord conforms our hearts (thoughts, emotions, and will) around reality, that which is actually true. Like David, we must choose to sing in order to realign our emotions with biblical
certainties. Affliction, and the grief it produces, are part of living in a fallen world. Yet, as a Christian, you have hope that the world does not have, and cannot give. Therefore, heavenly joy can always be mingled with your earthly sorrow. You can be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Singing is one God-given means to maintain this connection.

Are you singing? It may be helpful to read the whole of Psalm 57 and then finish by singing or playing a favorite worship song, psalm, or hymn. Remember, being involved in a church gives you a chance to sing God’s praises in worship with God’s people.

*NOTE: This article is one of fifty devotionals in A SMALL BOOK FOR THE HURTING HEART: Meditations on Loss, Grief, and Healing.

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