A Song for When You Feel Like You Can’t Sing
The mirror tells the story of what the last months have been like for me. Black circles under my eyes speak of little sleep and great strain and sorrow. Blog post after blog post about suffering, with seemingly no end to that cloudy theme.
This morning I woke up and fought the familiar battle to get out of bed. You know how it is when it’s easier to lie under the covers than to face all of the hard. It sure is a struggle, to get your feet onto the floor and move into the day when you feel that way.
I was talking to the Lord about this, because it felt like I was failing spiritually. When I get to feeling down, guilt starts to rise that I should be singing and rejoicing and praising. I was asking God what I should do, when crying has become my default instead of all of those lovely “she’s a victorious Christian” verbs.
Opening my devotional book New Morning Mercies, by Paul David Tripp, he sent me to Psalm 66. It’s a song that starts with expressions like “shout with joy,” “sing the glory,” and “let the sound of his praise be heard,” but I’ll be honest that those first verses felt far off to me –like something I should have had in hand but couldn’t quite reach.
Then I got to the middle of the psalm, and the Lord met me there. He came in close, and I got up from my chair, dug a piece of chalk out of the red tin can on my bedroom dresser, and wrote this chunk of verses on the giant chalkboard in my bedroom:
For you, O God
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
we went through
Psalm 66:10-12a (NIV)
These were words I could say with authenticity. I’ve felt like a burden has been laid on my back in the last months. I’ve felt like someone has been riding over the top of me. I’ve felt like I’ve suffered burns and sometimes like I’ve been drowning in so many different difficulties. The middle of the night has often felt like an emotional prison from which I can’t seem to escape.
It struck me that this section of Scripture is a song, a praise, a place of deep joy. Because it says, “For you, O God, tested us.”
This is who God is. He purposefully brings his people into painful places in order to refine us.
You, O God, laid the burden that’s on my back.
It’s a song of praise, but it’s played with a mournful violin and the depth of a cello. It’s worship, but the tempo is slow and broad. It’s joy, but the singer’s head is bowed low in reception of testing and barely a glimmer of hope that the refining process is producing something good.
God is good and loving and kind and awesome, but if you don’t feel like those words fit your suffering, try the words of lament in Psalm 66. God breathed these lyrics into David, and they count as worship. You’re not failing as a Christian if all you can say today is, “You, O God, have laid a burden on my back.” It’s an acknowledgment of who he is, and it brings glory to his name. It’s okay to sit humbly in that place for a season.
Praying for you, my friend. May His Word comfort you and give you hope and peace. I’ve been walking through a long season of loss. At this point, I don’t know if it will ever end, but I hold onto the psalmist’s words of “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” May He be your portion today.
I’m so sorry, Lori. It does seem like maybe it will never end. I pray the Lord will be the great comforter to both of us, so that we can be joyful in the middle of all of this. Thank you for your prayers. I love you!
I have heard good things about this devotional book. Guess I better look into it! Much of what you shared resonated with me. Thank you for sharing, and encouraging others! Many blessings <3
The Lord bless and keep you, dear sister. ♡
Prayers for ease of anxiety & sorrow ? & for the Lord to bless you with a beautiful surge of peace, comfort & strength??
Thank you, Helen.
Christy, thank you so much for walking this hard road in the open. I struggle with seasons of depression and so much of what you describe speaks loads to my heart at the same time. When I am in those pits, that need to be authentic and still hope can feel ridiculous, but Jesus is able to beautifully, personally do that for me.
I’m a music person, so finding a song to sing does help lighten the load, even if it doesn’t remove it. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Matt Redman’s version of The Solid Rock called, “My Hope”, but it has encouraged me with words that speak truth in a gentle, minor key that mirrors my sometimes raw soul. Maybe it can minister to you right now, too. In the meantime, I’m praying through tears with you.
I just listened to this song you’ve shared, thank you, and I may have to put it on repeat. I’m thankful for artists who give us songs of lament, because it allows us to worship Christ well on the dark days, too.
And when I read that Scripture, the part that brings a thrill to my heart comes next: “….but You brought us to a place of abundance.” So there will be triumph in the trials. And later in the chapter there will be testimony: “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.” (v.16) and then truth: “….but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” (v.19) And finally, praise: “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!” (v.20) So much in that chapter! A visitor to my Dad’s hospital room read it to us years ago and it stuck in my heart way back then in such a beautiful way. I love that word “abundance.” Anyway, hugs and smiles from South Texas and prayers for your heart, Christy!
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