I remember the day over 25 years ago when I jumped in my truck, dropped it in reverse, and backed up -- right into the door of our other vehicle. I walked right past the SUV to get to my truck. I glanced in the mirror but failed to notice the bright blue and white thing sitting there. I remember uttering words. Some of which I am glad I don't use anymore. I had a song in my heart but it strained to come out that day. Happy songs are a great treasure to have. They can lift the most difficult moment and brighten the darkest corner. The day I wrecked our vehicle, the song was probably something like, "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen."
Much change has come to my heart over those 25+ years and now when things go sideways, I still utter words (one's I can use in church). I have found a way forward through difficult times with songs of gratitude and peace. Oh, I still have those moments when I do something really daft and need the Lord to restrain neurons from all meeting in the middle of my brain at the same time. Can you say, "Let's explode Randy's brain?" God is sanctifying and refining me each day and I understand I will always be on this journey as long as I have breath in my lungs.
The apostle Paul lived in the same weird world that challenges us to make good choices and seek solace from God and not man. I love the account here in Acts 16. It speaks to a great inner resolve to always seek the best attributes of an absolutely horrid situation. What else can one do after taking a beating and being imprisoned but sing! Check it out.
"The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:22-28, NIV)
Paul knew his call to proclaim Christ would come with suffering. He knew bearing the cross of Christ would lead him into places that would challenge his resolve to faithfully serve. He did not waver in his mission to preach Jesus but stood his ground all the way to a prison cell. And here comes the song in Paul's heart. Praying and singing praise to God even as wounds bled and bruises swelled was something we can only hope to be able to do when our time comes. It will come.
I'm thinking the Doxology would be a good song to hold in the archives for times of distress.
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."