waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
- Psalm 40:1-3
“Several years ago, in trials for the television program American Idol, judge Jennifer Lopez denied one contestant the opportunity to continue, saying that while her voice was lovely, there were “no feelings from the heart” behind it. She explained to the would-be songstress that without that emotion, there was nothing to connect to, only notes coming from her mouth.
“You might not have the voice of a soloist or even a member of the chorus, but if the song you sing comes from what God has put in your heart, you are a part of that heavenly choir that harmonizes in worship to Him every day. Think about a tune you already know: ‘There’s Within My Heart a Melody.’ Only days before that song was written, Luther Bridges experienced sorrow and tragedy – the death of his wife and children in a fire. But through it all, Bridges found the song God put in his heart.
“What keeps you from singing? Don’t let it! Confess it to the Lord and ask Him to give you a new song.”
- Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
In the devotion, they only quoted Psalm 40:3, but here I added the two preceding verses. If you have been in the mud and mire and God has delivered you, you might just sing from the heart, as Jennifer Lopez suggests in the devotion quote.
I have heard Christian recording artists talk about how they might have a hard time in their life. Sure, there was Scripture that they could relate to the situation, but oh, how those songs came to mind, providing the same message, with that feeling of being from the heart, a feeling of warmth and comfort. God is with us, taking care of us with or without the song, but the song makes the hardship more bearable. With a song on your heart, you can wear a genuine smile, because the feelings that the song provides start to find outlets, a way of emanating from the soul and touching those around us. This happens even when we are not singing out loud. Word of warning: If you cannot carry a tune in a bucket, you might want to keep the singing out loud restricted to the shower. We are all great singers in the shower.
The story about Luther Bridges in the devotion is eerily similar to many Christian composers over the past few centuries. It gets back to the Scripture above. When we go through a trial in our life, and we start getting frustrated, putting those frustrations down on paper can help. In many cases, the frustrations seem small once reduced to pen and ink. That’s when words of praise can be added, because we know that God is in charge. Before you know it, you have your song. It may not be a hymn that is sung for centuries in churches around the world, but it is sung in your heart.
And Happy Valentines Day or Happy Singles Awareness Day – whatever is appropriate.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.