As a worship pastor at my local church [New Life], I get the privilege of piecing together a selection of songs each week that can be collectively sung by a group of people in worship. In a very real sense, the songs we sing together represent what we believe about God. They make up the voice of our people collectively.
As I have grown as a leader of worship, I’ve really seen the importance of what it means to tap into the voice of our particular group of people and make sure that what we are singing is an accurate reflection of what our people believe and what we are going through. This is why I am passionate about writing songs for our church to sing corporately as well as bringing in more mainstream songs.
I believe that it’s really important to make sure that we sing things that give an accurate view of what it really means to follow Christ. Yes… it’s a lot of fun to get excited and sing at the top of our lungs about how awesome it is to be in love with God… how every day is better than the last… how our joy is overwhelming. But, the reality is, if you follow Christ for more than a few years, you’ll find yourself in seasons that make you wonder, if every day is supposed to be better than the last, then why am I experiencing so many increasingly worse days right now?
I find great solace in some of the hymns of our faith that, thankfully, are being brought back into our church’s voice.
One of the hymns that most resonates with me as I lead our church body is The Solid Rock.
I had sung this song countless times in my life. But, it wasn’t until this past year that I began to identify with it.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on his unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand
As we have found ourselves on this messy journey of fostering and adoption over the past year and a half, I’ve found that I have been relating to the Lord in a completely different way than I did before. As we swim in a sea of uncertainty and deal with behaviors in our child and in our own hearts that we wouldn’t have imagined dealing with at any point in our life, I find it difficult to sing songs that tell only one side of the story.
There is little hope for me to sing “every day with you is sweeter than the day before”… because all that makes me do is doubt that this God exists… or better yet, feel guilty that my life doesn’t match those lyrics.
But, when I can stand [or lay flat on my face] and muster up the words “when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay”, I’m reminded of the bigger picture.
I can honestly worship a God that calls us to hard things and brings us through what seems like end-of-the-world storms… and be left with nothing else to say but, “All my hope is in You. All my strength is in You.”
It has been a beautiful thing to stand in front of a group of people whose stories I know… Parents dealing with bringing kids from hard places into their family and wondering where the light at the end of the tunnel is… Couples searching frantically for jobs and coming up dry… Women struggling to see the goodness of the Lord in light of their recent miscarriage… Students seeing for the first time that this world is broken. And yet, when we begin singing this song… when those different voices with all sorts of different stories combine, I can feel the energy from our people. A desperate cling to the hope found in our Savior.
It’s a really tremendous thing to be able encounter.
May our churches be filled with sounds and words that resonate with where we are and that point us to a God that is firm through the fiercest droughts and storms.