Dear refuge of my weary soul, on Thee, when sorrows rise,
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll, my fainting hope relies. (Lyrics by Anne Steele)
Sometimes we have the impression that life as a Christian
ought to be full of joy, peace, and contentment, and that this means it will be
devoid of all sorrow, anxiety, fear, and doubt. And if we experience the
latter, we wonder if something is wrong with us.
But the difference for Christians is not that they are
unfamiliar with sorrow, anxiety, fear, and doubt, but that they find Christ
through and in the midst of these things. And in finding Christ and holding
onto his promises, Christians find an enduring joy, peace, and contentment in
One of the ways that we can acknowledge both that we
struggle, and that Christ meets us in our struggles, is in our worship songs.
Do our songs acknowledge the sorrow that many people,
including Christians, deal with? Do our songs acknowledge the questions,
uncertainty, and doubt that many people, including Christians, experience?
And having done that, do they then help us to find the
comfort and hope and peace of Christ in the midst of our various sufferings?
Or do our songs give the impression that Christians walk
into church, and go throughout life, only happy and carefree? And that Christ
and church are only relevant for those who have it all together? Those who
currently are winning at life?
One of the wonderful things about the biblical Psalms is
that they give us the freedom to feel sorrow, uncertainty, and doubt. There is even
a category of Psalms called Psalms of Lament. Now, the Psalms also teach us to
bring our sorrows and doubts to God. Most Psalms, no matter their content, end
So our worship songs should praise God, yes! But they should teach us to praise God in the midst of our sorrow and suffering. Teach us to cry out to God when we doubt his goodness. Teach us to cling to his promises when we don’t see their fulfillment.
Mine are tears in times of sorrow Darkness not yet understood Through the valley I must travel Where I see no earthly good But mine is peace that flows from heaven And the strength in times of need I know my pain will not be wasted Christ completes his work in me (Christ is Mine Forevermore by CityAlight)