There are certain truths that seem to resonate with me. Singing or music, in general, is a great source of peace and happiness for me. I am sure that I am not just speaking for myself. Many of you enjoy music. We all have genres that we enjoy. For me, it depends on my mood. If I am in need of relaxation or to focus, I will listen to light classical music. If I need a burst of energy, I will play something more contemporary. When I work on sermons, I listen to uplifting Christian music. In short, there is a type of music that works for my various moods.
Although I have read his works, I am not a big fan of Friedrich Nietzsche, the noted German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, writer, and philologist. Don’t get me wrong. I have read his work and have studied it quite extensively. There are points that he makes where I am in total agreement with him. But, in the end, he leaves me a little cold. It is just me and I am not here to debate his work one way or another. There is, however, one point where I’m in complete agreement with him. It is about music.
Nietzsche once wrote, “Music heals all forms of misery.”
If I am feeling a little depressed or feel down about something, I will sneak away and put on my headphones. I will browse my music library for the perfect selection of music that will begin the healing process for those low moments. Music is truly the balm for the soul and certainly helps each of us in finding happiness once more.
Our spiritual lives are much the same as our physical lives. We sometimes suffer moments where our faith is put to the test. We face temptation daily. There are times when we are spiritually exhausted from all of the attacks we endure. I have experienced those moments many times and I am sure that each of you have similar moments as well. It is part of living in a corrupted world and we have to find ways for us to remain focused.
When I was a chaplain for a retirement community long ago, there was a woman in our congregation who would sing all the time. She was a member of her church’s choir. I believe that she knew every hymn in the Southern Baptist Hymnal by heart. No matter what was going on in her life, there was a hymn on her lips and joy in her heart.
There was so much I learned from her over the years that I served as chaplain. She remains an inspiration to me and will remain so for the rest of my life. Wanda taught me that music, especially the hymns from my childhood, are one of the cornerstones of our faith. Hymns bring us comfort when we are dealing with horrible situations in our lives.
When I was taking my mom to a chemotherapy session, some of the patients would wear their headphones and listen to music to help pass the time, but, more importantly, keep themselves in a positive state of mind.
James, in chapter five of his book, writes, “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.”
No matter what we are facing, we should be like Wanda. When she lost her husband, she was in prayer. When she was happy, she sang praises to the Lord. There was always a hymn for every occasion. Sometimes, while I was doing visitations at the community, I would hear Wanda’s wonderful voice softly in the background. The halls would echo her voice and I am sure that the Lord was very pleased with her sweet voice as she gave thanks to Him in song.
There have been so many times in my life where I was feeling low. Something didn’t turn out right for me. Things like that happen to us all. Life is a struggle for each of us, but there are ways to make things easier to bear. If we go to the Lord in prayer, we know that He will listen to us. When we sing praises to Him, our hearts and souls are filled with love and with happiness. That is such a wonderful gift. We can sing praises to Him and we are immediately filled with unimaginable joy. That joy permeates every part of our lives. We feel so much better when we are able to sing His praises and share those praises with the rest of the world.
Paul, in chapter fourteen of his first epistle to the church at Corinth, writes, “Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.”
Prayer and song fill our spirit with great joy. Even if you don’t remember all of the words to a hymn, humming or whistling the melody is so uplifting and it can be so uplifting for others. When others who may be depressed or are going through a rough and rocky moment in their lives, your song of praise can give them joy and have them singing right along with you.
Think about this. When Paul and Silas were thrown in prison for their faith, what did they do?
In chapter sixteen of the Book of Acts, the author writes, “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.”
All it takes is just a moment to sing and pray and things begin to change in our lives. We don’t need to concentrate on the rough spots in our lives. We need to lift up our voices in prayer and sing His praises daily. When you do that, I can guarantee that your burden will be a lot lighter and that you will be able to stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.