Whatever happened to those confident, proud words, “I’m going to sing before and all the way through this Red Sea journey! I’m not going to be like the Israelites and panic, only singing praise to God after He has rescued me. No, I am going to sing in the face of danger!” It sounds like a super hero flick: high tech, special effects, dazzling the audience with theme music that invigorates the soul and not my Christian faith. It looks like Peter, “I will die for you Lord!” and then, “I don’t even know the man!” This is me in the flesh, trying to brave the great unknown, smile in place, courageous words of faith spoken like a Biblical champion of old, yet lying face down in a muddy puddle of my tears, fears and failure. When all I could see was the puddle and it brought fear and anguish, Satan had done his job and done it well. One can’t sing to the Lord through the trials of life with dirt in one’s throat and eyes full of dusty tears, focused on the little bit of earth one is lying on.
Like a bad horror flick where the heroine braves the scary, dark, eerie music infested woods, seeking the monster but then turns, running blindly, recklessly for safety, tripping, crashing to the ground, only to crawl painfully toward the perceived safety ahead; all the while hot scorching, wretched beast breathe is searing her neck…….this is my episode of foolish bravery gone awry. I know that I am not alone in this haunted wood, many have passed this way before me.
Was my intention of singing in the rain and praising in the storm misguided? Never are godly, biblical intentions wrong. But singing in my own strength and getting my power to do so from the admiration of on lookers was doomed to fail. Striking out alone in the woods to meet the enemy, with only the good wishes and cheers of others, was foolish at best. On-lookers and friends may come around at an initial crisis, a hero syndrome all of it’s own, and when the crisis grows too lengthy, dull or inactive, or an even a better cause arises elsewhere, the helpful crowd of cheerleaders abandon their posts of cheer and wait for the funeral announcement instead. When one’s support system crumbles, so does one’s strength to go on singing. Suddenly, the heroine loses her status, the mood turns dark and the end of the song comes prematurely.
Brave words, spoken in truthful abandon to God, don’t fall on His ears as meaningless ramblings, yet He knows that the very pledge to remain strong in the face of difficulty is humanly impossible and therefore I am in need of a Savior. He knows that the heart felt pomp and dedication to start strong for Him, to put a good foot and face forward, would fail from a human effort if the trial went longer than the well intentioned stamina. So should the heroine not claim victory prior to the dangerous, ominous fight? Should the bold statement, “I will sing before the Red Sea parts, before deliverance!” have not been spoken at all? Spoken words of dedication to God and trust in His promises and ability to deliver are never mis-spoken words. But had the heroine made it through in her own strength of song, where would the need for God’s hands of forgiving grace and mercy have come in to pick her up, wipe off the salty, mud streaked cheeks and carry her to deliverance and victory in His perfect strength, while gaining all the glory and honor due His Name?
The heroine and the song are part of God’s great story. He is the Author and Protagonist. It is an autobiography in which the heroine plays a minor role in order for God to come in and slay the dragon and save the day. The confidence, though well placed, initially, wore away when the struggle became to oppressive to continue on in one’s own song. And so, the theme music changes, though the struggle remains, and the focus is no longer on the heroine or even when or how the saving will come, but on the Writer Himself, as He narrates how the story will climax and eternally shine into the annuls of The Great Stories of God.
Sing before, in, through, and in spite of the storm. Sing songs of deliverance, songs of joy and songs of pain- for they are all part of the great musical epic that God is directing in each of our lives.