Monthly Archives: March 2014

From Sorrow to Song

Okavango Delta photo by Alex Bernasconi

Okavango Delta photo by Alex Bernasconi

From Sorrow To Song

In my journey through life the Book of Psalms has ministered to me over and over through every circumstance imaginable. Looking back over the events of my life I find I can relate to the situations described by the writers of this book. So in my times of heartache, testing and triumphs I go to the familiar pages of these poetic hymns and draw renewed strength from the written words.

Psalm 150 is the final Psalm in the Book.

Have you noticed that the last Psalm begins differently than the first Psalm?

The first Psalm opens with MAN being blessed BY God, but the last Psalm opens with man BLESSING God.

Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man.” The last Psalm says, “Praise ye the Lord.”

Between Psalm 1 and 150 a whole lot of things have happened…………. Come…….. walk with me and hear the voice of the Psalmist drifting down through the faded corridors of time and dusty roads of life.

I hear echoes of pain in the fields from exploited individuals comforting themselves in the words of the Psalmist saying……. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers……”(Psalm 37:1).They had run into some crooked folk, difficult dilemmas, and trying situations. Then as they assimilate the comforting words of Psalm 37, the sting of their mistreatment fades as the morning mist with the triumphal final verse which shouts; … “And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.” Psalm 37:40

Then heart wrenching sounds of weeping rush over me; leading me to read, “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)This tells me that the Psalmist had run into tough times and that his eyes had focused upon the calendar of time; he was counting the hours at night looking forward to the morning. The pain that was causing such sorrow would be replaced by the healing balm of God’s morning filled with the sunshine of His love.

I hear a voice calling from a distant mountain peak and read the words, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

Obviously the writer had run into something he couldn’t get out of. He couldn’t think his way out, pay his way out, or trick his way out. He found the answer to his dilemma though, in the One who was the creator of the rugged mountain in his way. He proclaimed his trust in the God of all creation knowing his cries would not go unheeded!

I listened again and this time heard a lament where the Psalmist seemed to say that at one time he had been isolated from the house of God……. Because I heard him say, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm122:1) He does not explain the reason for this separation -it could have been a result of his own poor choices; or a misunderstanding; or a cooling of his fervor for God but he keenly felt the loss of fellowship. The result was when the invitation came he joyfully went to the sanctuary to praise God.

And so from Psalm 1 to 150, the Psalmist had run into a whole gambit of situations. He had experienced intense sorrow, sadness, suffering, deception and even sin. He had been in TOUGH situations, but this Psalm (Psalm 150) says that in spite of what the weary pilgrim has gone through………




Listen for The Song

Sunrise at Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Sunrise at Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Music is the language of the soul. It comes in many forms some raucous, loud,  jarring; some created by master musicians whose subtle notes cause the hearer’s emotions to soar to lofty heights. Then there is music that is part of the foundation of our faith which brings comfort and courage to the seeking hearts. There is another source of music that is pristine in its beauty yet many never hear it. It is the song that comes from nature that fills our daily lives which many drown out with the distractions of this modern life.

Among my cherished memories is the times when we lived in remote areas in the bush of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and hearing the songs of the bush. For the initiated ear the African bush is never truly silent. Dawn arrives, drifting softly in satin slippers gently rousing the birdlife first. Before the crimson fingers of the rising sun have touched the Masasa trees the birds announce the new day, with melodies that defy the imagination. As I became familiar with the bird songs I learned to identify the different species by their trilling calls.

Baby elephants playing.

Baby elephants playing.

Slowly the rest of the animals in the bush begin to stir. The night prowlers find their chosen place of rest for the day and the animals who feed and play during the day begin to vocalize to one another. Baby elephants squealing in play while the mothers give off deep rumbles, keeping their energetic babies in line. The sharp “bark” coming from  a herd of Springbok heading to the river for a morning drink, signals to all the animals in the surrounding area that a predator is on the prowl. If one is patient and silent you might even hear the “chirp” of baby cheetahs calling their mother. The sounds of the African bush floating gently on the soft winds become a cacophony of songs that is a balm to the soul. There is one requirement though. In order to fully immerse your senses in the songs of the bush veld you have to take the time to stop and “listen”! Your ear needs to be tuned for the songs just as a mother’s ears are tuned for the faintest cry of her child.

Having spent so many years in Africa I developed a deep love and appreciation for its sounds which were music to my heart. As a result music has played a vital role through-out my life and even in my relationship with God. During times of deep heart-ache God has always given a song; during times of joy there was a song……yes……in every season of my life I have found the “song of God’s heart” by listening for it. I assure you, just as the trumpeting of an African elephant close by will give you a rush of adrenalin, so too God has a song that will cause your heart to race or stir you to tears! Do you want to soar with the eagles to the loftiest mountain peaks? The song from God’s heart will take you there! Do you long for a place of peace? Listen and the song from God’s heart will carry you to “green pastures” where you can rest and bathe your soul in His melodies that minister peace.

There is a song for all to hear but we must silence all the other voices demanding our attention and LISTEN FOR THE SONG!

Exodus 15:2 (NKJV) 2 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.