In Your Marriage, What Does It Mean To Ask God For A Song?

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Years ago several families in the church I pastored traveled with my family to Mississippi where we ministered to a poverty-stricken location. While there I had the privilege of visiting with an aged African-American woman who loved Christ. Over her lifetime, she had worked in the cotton fields much of her lifetime. As we sat on her front porch, I asked her to share her upbringing, “How did you survive all those years laboring in the scorching-hot cotton fields?" She told me, “Each morning I’d awakin’ before dawn. The day before me would be another day of drudgery in the cotton fields. To make it through the heat and humidity I’d ask the Lord to give me a song for the day. If I had a song, I could hum and sing it while picking cotton. Faithfully He’d give me a song. Each day I’d sing to Him and find comfort in His presence."

What a story. What an example.

Should you gain from her wisdom and experience?

A LYRIC

For those of you who can carry a tune or make melody in your hearts, I strongly recommend allowing God to bring to your heart spiritual songs and hymns in the midst of your trials and troubles.

Some of you worship in song week after week in church. There you have heard hundreds of songs with thousands of lyrics as you worship in song week after week in church. You are like my wife, Sarah. Those songs and melodies stick to your soul. What happens, though, is that God in His grace brings back to remembrance a specific verse for the need of the moment, or in the case of this godly woman from Mississippi, He gave her a song for the day.

SARAH’S CANCER

While in the grocery store one day years ago, Sarah received medical news that she had breast cancer, which was not a good thing in light of the fact that her mother died of cancer. She shared later, "As I drove home, a very interesting thing occurred—I began singing a song (I only sing when no one is around and in church with everyone else singing along) and the words that came out were from a very old hymn that I hadn’t sung for years. The first line of the song says, (slowly) 'My faith has found a resting place' . . . I heard those words and knew only God could have pulled them from the recesses of my heart and mind. It was then I knew that God was going to go before me. I also said out loud, 'Thank You, Lord, that I know I can trust You!'”

The lyric that came to her mind and heart was, "My faith has found a resting place, not in device or creed. I trust the ever living God his blood availed for me. I need no other argument, I need no other plea, it is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me!"

She continues, "As I arrived home, my dear husband was there to greet and comfort me and our 26-year-old son was there also. He said, 'Mom your friends are never going to believe you have cancer.’ Kind of like 'you don’t deserve this.’ Then he said, 'How are you doing?' I was surprised at what I said next. A peace had come over me in the car, and without hesitation, I said, 'David, I have spent my whole life getting to know who God is and I am confident I can trust His character and who he He says he is. I have also learned the discipline of giving thanks in all things and the peace He promises when we do that, is guarding my heart even now! I don’t share this with any pride at all . . . just the opposite—realizing that God supernaturally gave me the grace to respond with peace.'"

God gave Sarah a song that sustained her through her double mastectomy, and that was 11 years ago and she is cancer free today.

A SOLOIST

A friend of ours, a gifted soloist, visited us to report of the tragic collapse of her marriage. Uncertain of the future, and wishing to crawl up into the fetal position, we thought she needed us to minister to her heart during the greatest trial of her life. After a couple hours of sharing, we decided to close in prayer. As I prayed, the thought struck me to request of God, "Lord, give her a song.” She immediately spoke, “A split second before you prayed, the Lord brought a song into my heart.”

All of us were touched by God’s kindness. It was a hair-raising moment.

Sarah and I asked, “Which song?"

She replied, "He Giveth More Grace"

She and Sarah knew the lyrics, "He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength as the labors increase; To added afflictions He addeth His mercy, To multiplied trials He multiplies peace. He giveth more grace."

All of us were uplifted by that moment.

AWAITING WORD FROM MAYO

Recently, a family member encountered a serious health concern, which could be most serious. We As of this writing, we are still waiting for the medical report from the Mayo Clinic. As Sarah prayed fervently one morning, she looked out the open window early on a beautiful sunny summer morning at pine trees, flowers, and a lake in the distance. As she gazed outward in silence, the silence outside spoke to her. No birds chirping, no wind blowing, not bugs buzzing. It was perfectly still. Then the song lyrics came to her, "Be still my soul and know that I am God, be still and know that I am God, be still and know that I am God! I am the Lord that healeth thee, I am the Lord that healeth thee, I am the Lord that healeth thee!"

That moment overwhelmed Sarah as she began to weep.

Will God heal our family member? We do not know. What we do know is that Sarah encountered the peace and presence of God that lifted the burden for that moment. That experience uplifted her soul and instilled a confidence in her that God heard her prayers.

TOO SUBJECTIVE?

Yes, all of this is subjective. We will not set forth the claim that God is real or deny the subconscious went to work based on the environmental stillness triggering the word “stillness” that triggered the song “Be Still and Know."

But believers have believed the following:

* God “gives songs” (Job 35:10).

* “His song will be with me” (Psalm 42:8).

* “I will remember my song in the night” (Psalm 77:6).

* "I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also” (1 Corinthians 14:15).

Regardless of how God brings the song, the need of the moment combined with the recollection of a lyric that one may never have sung for 30 years still proves precious beyond words. The coincident brings joy to the soul.

PSALMS, HYMNS, AND SPIRITUAL SONGS

Why does God do this? To encourage us. But not just us, others also. We become a conduit. When we share the lyrics, others receive a blessing.

Ephesians 5:19 instructs, "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” In a parallel passage, which Paul wished for all the local churches to apply, he wrote in Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

The woman from Mississippi shared her verses with others in the fields, especially as they heard her sing her sweet song the Lord gave to her.

Sarah shared with our family and scores of others her testimony of the hymn God brought back to her mind.

The soloist shared the spiritual song God gave to her at that moment in prayer, and with others later.

Sarah shared the lyric of the hymn, based on a Psalms, God gave to her with this family member awaiting to hear from Mayo.

What about you who are worshipping week after week in church? Do you need to be praying, “Lord, give me a song”?

In your marriage or in your parenting, ask God for a song!

-Dr. E