“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” – Psalm 59:16
I have a confession, I am terrible at memorizing Scripture. Generally, I would say I can memorize things easily. I still know PLU numbers from cashiering in college and if “obscure Muncie phone numbers’ is a category on trivia night, you want me on your team! When it comes to verses and passages of the Bible though, the words never seem to “stick”. The best I get to is “oh you know the one about….”.
Song lyrics though are a whole different thing. I sing along to everything, songs I love, songs I hate, new songs, old songs. I sing along at church, in the car, and also in the grocery store without realizing it. And so, it is often lyrics and not verses that come to my mind in moments of fear, of stress, of doubt, of joy, of gratitude. Over the years, I’ve come to think that my story with God just might be a musical.
A few years ago, my husband lost his job unexpectedly and I’m sure you can imagine what kinds of emotions and worries that brought into our lives. In trying to find God’s voice in all that noise, on Sunday morning, Bobby sang “Oceans” and I stood there in the back row with tears streaming as he sang:
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
“Okay God, I hear you,” and then I sang along:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
And that Peace that passes understanding filled me and assured me that even though everything wasn’t “better,” I wasn’t alone.
This musical goes on, back and forth, God “singing” to me and me singing back in moments big and small. “God, but what about this thing I’ve messed up?” and the reply comes, “Don’t you know that’s not your name? Fear, he is a Liar…” Anxiety swirls and then I hear, “Peace, bring it all to peace…” I hike in the woods, in awe of the complex beauty around me and “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below…” swells up in my heart, and on and on.
As I reflect on this rhythm of my life, I can’t help but be in awe of how our Father relates to each of us in ways that are so specific to who we are. (“You’re a good, good father. It’s who you are…”) I’m not a musician. My singing voice is dreadful. I don’t understand the details of how to create beautiful music. I can’t even consistently clap on the beat. And yet, I love music and so that’s where I can come to Him and where He meets me, building a relationship in a way I couldn’t converse with anyone else.
Songlist (in order the lyrics appear in the text):
“Oceans” by Hillsong
“Fear is a Liar” by Zach Williams
“Tremble” by Shane & Shane
“Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin