Isaiah 35:10 – And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (AMPC)
I was hosting a seniors' cable show with others, awhile back. Someone had asked an elderly gospel quartet to come down and be interviewed. They were called The Old Hims, since that was mostly what they sang. The four men had a great sense of humour, which is a tremendous help when mishaps occur. I was late that day and came rushing into our prep room, out of breath. I slipped on something and smacked into a wall a few feet away. As I lay there, trying to recover my dignity, I looked up. Peering down on me with quizzical expressions, heads together and in complete harmony, The Old Hims were going, "Hmmmmmmmmm?"
Like them, I usually have a hymn in my head, stored there till I need it, over the years. Lately, I've decided to start any message to a believer with whatever hymn is singing to me through any particular day. This morning, it was Edward Hopper's Jesus, Saviour, pilot me. This regular experience provides me with the spiritual comfort that the old songs give, especially the ones dealing with troubles and trials as expected occurrences in our spiritual journey towards home.
If I were the only person ever to have obstacles, suffering, questions, struggles, doubts, injustice, temptations, testings, difficulties, sorrows, and unhappiness — the list of awful goes on forever — then there wouldn't be so many songs about keeping on, despite the pain, our spiritual touchstone. Someone said, "How do you know you're on the right path? Because it's always uphill!" And there's a hymn for that: John W. Peterson's It's not an easy road.
Even with new tech enabling us to type any hymn title into some device and hear it sung back to us, I still tote around a print version: Ira D. Sankey's pocket-sized Sacred songs and solos – Twelve hundred hymns, from early in the previous century.
While it's great to have new songs and hymns, it's the old ones that I turn to — music that has walked so many generations through the deep waters, through the dark vales when the sunlight is gone. Old hymns are our cadence, marking our steps as we follow in His footsteps today, sharing, with all the angels and saints, hope and joy despite the darkness.
Isaiah 14:7 – The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into singing. (AMPC)
Prayer: Dear Father, when through the deep waters You call us to go, trials dark on every hand, may our songs abound and every tear be dry as we see, by Your excellent Word, that the rivers of sorrow will not overflow us and that our deepest distress has been sanctified to us through Your all-sufficient grace. Hold us safe in the cleft of the rock under Your wings, with the everlasting arms holding us up forever. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Saviour Pilot Me" (Lyrics)