” When you’re happy, you enjoy the music. But when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.” -Frank Ocean.
No truer words have been spoken. Music has always been a very big part of my life. I grew up hearing my mother sing as she worked around our home. As a little girl, I would sit at my grandmother’s feet as she practiced for hours and hours on her piano. That is where my love for piano music was born and my own music lessons began at the age of nine. The music of the piano became the best way for my introvert heart to express all that was inside. I played so much that my brothers would beg me to stop.
Ferree Hardy of Widow’s Christian Place posted a blog this week about music that got me thinking about how powerfully music has and is continuing to affect my own life.
The way I viewed music changed tremendously at the death of my husband. Suddenly those lyrics came alive and I was able to see into the hearts of the ones who wrote them. Blind Fanny Crosby’s words “When my lifework is ended and I cross the swelling tide. When the bright and glorious morning I shall see. I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side and His smile will be the first to welcome me. Oh! The soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face and the luster of His kindly beaming eye! How my full heart shall praise Him for the mercy, love, and grace that prepare for me a mansion in the sky! I shall know Him. I shall know Him. And redeemed by His side I shall stand. I shall know Him. I shall know Him by the prints of the nails in His hand” give my husband’s moment of death and face to face introduction to the One he had followed all of his life a very clear picture in my mind of how that glorious time must have been for him and will be for me some day.
Frank E Graeff’s words “Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth and song? When for my deep grief there is no relief though my tears flow all the night long? Oh, yes, He cares! I know He cares! His heart is touched with my grief” that he wrote after some very difficult trials full of great despondency, physical pain, and doubt were now words that could have been written by me.
Although he suffered from poor health his entire life, Thomas Obadiah Chisolm’s words “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not. Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be” remind me no matter how many changes occur in my life, there is One who never changes and who is forever faithful.
There are life stories of heartache and hard times behind the lyrics of many of those old hymns that I grew up listening to and singing. Now they hit home. It’s taken me almost three years to be able to mouth the words when I hear them. It’s still too painful for me to put voice to them as the tears roll down my cheeks. Yet, I find that through those tears, my heart connects to God in silent worship as my relationship with Him grows deeper and more intimate.
Whether you grew up on the old hymns or the worship music more common to today, there is a song lyric writer behind each song who is using his or her words to share their hearts with us. Pay closer attention to what they are saying and don’t sing those words unless you really mean them because God is listening to this form of worship.