My mom loved country music. She used to listen to the radio and sing along with every song they played. I loved my mom so I loved what she loved when I was young. Some of my favorite memories are of us singing together. There were three songs in particular we would sing often. They were “Hello Walls” by Faron Young, “He’ll have to go” by Jim Reeves, and “Sad movies make me cry” by Sue Thompson. I knew every word of these three songs because my mom sang them often. She knew all the words because she was going through a time in her life beyond my understanding. As I think back on it now, my mom was singing these sad songs because she was sad.
These songs were an outlet for my mom to express how she was feeling about her marriage. It was failing and she couldn’t save it. I knew something was going on but I didn’t experience the pain she did. What did I experience? Actually, I thought we were having fun singing together. It felt like bonding to me. I believe it was that for my mom in a way. She was losing her husband and at the same time bonding with her daughter. These songs, though sad, were glue in our relationship at the time. Singing together brought relief for my mom and joy for me.
Today we can sing together in worship to the Lord and find relief and joy in our circumstances. In the family of God, we have many mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters who will sing with us in our time of need. Is singing really helpful when life is falling apart? “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 Luke reports that singing is helpful in times of need. Paul and Silas were in prison singing. It’s interesting how the Lord used their singing for the benefit of the other prisoners. Do you see that? They may not have felt the joy Paul and Silas did but they certainly felt some relief during their time of imprisonment. God uses singing.
More incredible than that, God sings.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
This verse was written to Israel and is calling for them to turn back to God. We can see God’s character displayed in this verse. He is present, mighty, rejoicing over those who seek him, loving, and singing very loud. He sings in celebration over those who turn to him. God finds a personal delight in singing over his children. This is truth that is hard to comprehend. It cannot only bring us great joy in knowing the depth of God’s love, but also relief in any suffering we may be experiencing. God uses singing, God sings, and God is praised by our singing.
We are called to praise God by singing for who he is and what he has done. “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!…Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.” Psalm 98:1, 4
As we can see from this text, we don’t have to sing well in order to praise God. We are letting who God is and what he’s done carry us away in song. We need to be overcome by God. Can you imagine, if on the new earth, we sing with God? What a joyous song that will be! We’ll have only praise to bestow on him for eternity. That will be glory!
Until then, we have a life to live here on this sin-cursed earth, in our own sinful skin, and with many other sinners. What can singing do for us? It can bring us relief, joy, and a focus on the only one who deserves praise. I’m thankful for the memories I have of my mom. She brought me into her world by singing with me. However, she protected me from the suffering she was experiencing. Mom didn’t withhold her love from me at a time when she felt unloved. Instead, she made me feel very special. The truth is she reflected her Savior well at that time in her life. I’m forever grateful to God for memories of her. My greater joy is that she is now singing before her Savior and Lord! One day, we’ll sing together again!