Life Stinks, Sing Anyway

Perhaps you read my last post about real life. Music has such an incredible power to reach us in our mess of life.

What is it about some songs that speak to the deep emotions–on both sides of the spectrum–that we feel? The lyrics bring us to that place of being able to acknowledge our emotion and take us through the process of speaking it to God.

You know the writers come from a place of experience. They didn’t take a sabbatical off to the woods or a seaside cottage before putting pen to paper. The words were written during everyday life, and so many were written from that desert place of pain, when they’ve tasted the bitter waters. And when played with a modern, yet acoustic sound, the music breaches our cultural boundaries and reaches the heart. Some of my favorites:

  • ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus – The author wrote this in the years following her husband’s death. They had been married only a handful of years and had a small daughter when he died trying to rescue a drowning boy.
    • From my few years in the traditional, fundamental church setting as a young child. I had to search for the title because my soul was crying out this one phrase from the song: “Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus.”
  • It Is Well with My Soul – The author’s only son died and his business was destroyed by fire in the same year. Two years later, only his wife survived a shipwreck at sea; all four of their daughters died. The story is that he wrote the song while at the site of their deaths.
    • Another from way back when, but has been redone by modern bands.
  • Worn – This song from a contemporary band was prompted by the singer’s personal story and struggles as a father.
    • A few years ago, I hummed this song mercilessly to my inconsolable toddler while pacing the floor of his room during one of those many upon many sleepless nights (and fighting a tough battle with exhaustion while unknowingly pregnant with our second).
  • Trust in You – This young author, inspired by the words of Mother Teresa, penned this song while grieving the loss of her grandfather.
    • I think sometimes we get into this mindset that God is Santa God, passing out to us beautifully decked packages of everything we ever wanted but this mirage shatters when life steps into the picture. When we don’t receive the healing from chronic pain, when we keep failing, when we are deserted or betrayed, God is still there, in the midst of it all with us.

No, sometimes I can’t appreciate the beauty in a sunset, in my children’s smiles, or in a symphony but I’m learning that God wants me to trust Him enough to sing anyway. He still wants to hear our tear-cracked voices declaring that He is sovereign.

The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
~Psalm 118:14 (NASB)

[Image source]


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