Somewhere along the way, we forgot how to sing.
In the Bible there are two Psalms that describe a vast range of emotion and experience as God's people, and they are encamped right next to each other. Psalm 137 is a lament and plea for justice about the fallen nation that is held in the grip of sinful people. It describes the mocking presence of rulers and tormentors who did not love or fear God, and called on the people to sing songs of praise and remembrance of Jerusalem, the city left in ruins. It was like rubbing salt in the wound. None of them felt like singing at all. Instead they felt as if God had left them.
Psalm 136, placed right before the lament found in Psalm 137 is just the opposite. It is a psalm of gratitude and thanksgiving. It encourages all who read it to raise our voices in thanks and praise to God as we remember everything He has brought us through. The two Psalms work together because it is most often the dark times that we go through, by God's grace, for which we are the most thankful. So the lament and gratitude go hand in hand as we worship our God.
What is the big deal then? Doesn't this just naturally happen? We have good days and we have bad days and a lot of days in between. Yes, but how do we honor and celebrate those victories and losses? Do we, like the psalmist, lift our voices and sing? I don't think so. No instead we too often throw parties for ourselves to celebrate our own works when things go well. When things go poorly, we hide it away, for fear of showing our pain, or we take it out on others, or sometimes even ourselves. We do not often have the courage to take tragedy and make music from it. In hiding our pain, we have lost our voice.
In tough times, the artists are often the first to be cut from the public square. Yet it is just as often the arts that pull us all out of our places of despair into new light - and there have been times where the Church inspired those artists. I'm concerned today though, that the artists are not being inspired by us, for we have failed them, and ourselves. We have forgotten how to sing and lost our voices. Because we could not sing our laments, we cannot sing our songs of thanksgiving and praise, and our spirits, which the psalmists tied to our very breath, remain stagnant and unmoved.
Lift up your voice and sing, whatever you find yourself going through today. It will stir your soul and bring you closer to God, out of the darkness and into the light.
Healing is not simply an act of patching things up in life. It is a way of going through suffering alongside others… the same way Jesus came to earth to join us in the suffering we all go through because of the destructive nature of sin let loose.
Here is a list of scriptures that may be helpful in helping us minister to those suffering.
Dr. Rossi shares here that healing comes from God and not ourselves. Starting out with the attempt to do something ourselves will result in frustration. In a general sweep of service to God, we can look at encouraging passages like Philippians 4:13, but we should do so with caution because Paul writes this as direction to find contentment in all situations, not as permission to change the world around us to suit our own desires. Here is the whole passage:
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13 ESV http://bible.com/59/php.4.10-13.esv
So by all means, take God's healing into the world, but do so in obedience, following Jesus, rather than going off on your own initiative. Pray, and let God lead you. Seek first the kingdom of God and He will provide for you. That was the secret of Paul's own contentment.
Don't stop just bringing healing to individuals either. Here is an article by Relevant about three simple things we can do to bring healing to our whole community.
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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