“Joy Beyond the 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.

David wrote Psalm 57 during one of those times. 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).

Listen and learn from David. Notice how he works through his hurts and fears. In the face of real and potential hurts, 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. And 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. Kevin Twit, a writer and producer of modern worship music, describes this well.

I suppose joy and sorrow are the two great inspirations for song in our world. It has long been this way. Suffering is real and grievous, and it is an obscenity of sorts to deny it in our preaching or our songs. But Christians believe that while suffering is real, it is not ultimate. We believe there is a “joy beyond the sorrow” and we sing to mold our hearts around this reality.[1]

“We sing to mold our hearts around this reality.” What he means is this: The discipline of singing to the Lord conforms our hearts (thoughts, emotions, and will) around reality, what 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 a hope that the world does not have. Therefore, heavenly joy can always be mingled with your earthly sorrow. You can be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Singing is a God-given means to maintain this connection.

            Are you singing?

[1] From the back of the lyric sheet from the album Joy Beyond the Sorrow from Indelible Grace Music, 2012.

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