Monday, June 13, 2016

Master’s Monday: Songs that Hold Me Accountable




Over the past couple of months, I have come to appreciate songs that hold me accountable. That probably sounds a bit odd. Let me explain what I mean with an example.

“Joy of the Lord,” written by Ed Cash, is a song I listen to quite frequently. The words make a simple but powerful commitment to trust in the Lord no matter what, and the upbeat tune matches the enthusiasm of the lyrics. I typically find myself singing along with the recording at the top of my lungs (or at least as close to “at the top of my lungs” as seems reasonably considerate in a thinly-walled flat, at 8 AM on a weekday morning…).

However, every time I sing this song, I come to a point where I ask myself, “Can I really sing these words? Coming from my mouth, are they true?” The lyrics of the piece are surprisingly heavy:

Though the tears may fall
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
Though my heart may fail
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
While there’s breath in my lungs
I will praise You, Lord

In the dead of night, I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
When the waters rise, I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in my heart
I will praise You, Lord

The joy of the Lord is my strength!
The joy of the Lord is my strength!
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength!

And so on.

You know, it’s pretty easy to jump in on a good tune and affirm that “the joy of the Lord is my strength,” when I’m feeling full of joy. But what about when the tears fall, my heart fails, the waters rise, and the night closes in? What about then? Sometimes, I’m almost scared to sing these words, because when you think about it, they are a commitment to something that is not easy—to trust in the midst of darkness, and joy in the midst of pain. Rather daunting, I’d say.

But then that’s just the whole point, isn’t it? My strength is not my own—rather, it is sourced in the abiding joy of the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice!” My prayer every time I sing this particular song is that my Lord would indeed strengthen me to continue clinging to His mighty joy—that when darkness falls and the shadows rise He would keep these words in my mind and that they would be true in my life.

And for now, trusting in His strength, I will continue singing these words with abandon. What are your favorite songs that hold you accountable?

LaRae

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