His Praises Speak Back to Me

This is a brief post, but hopefully one that will bless you… In February 2005, I was still wrestling with my father's death five months prior. Depression. Anger. You name it. From where I sat, any future I had was a dark and dismal one. Simply put, I felt that God had abandoned me by taking my dad's life. How could I be expected to continue without him around?

One of my most treasured experiences of attending Freed-Hardeman is attending Clayton Chapel singing regularly. That February, on a Wednesday Night singing in Clayton Chapel, we sang the song "For I am the Lord Your God," the lyrics of which come directly from the opening words of Isaiah 43:

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

The final words of the chorus, where the men's part and women's echo one another, spoke to me in a powerful way in my grief and despair: "I am the LORD, Do not fear / I am the LORD, Do not fear / I am the LORD."

Those words, my words!, sung in (half-hearted) praise, reverberated back to me as the living and powerful Word of God spoken centuries ago through Isaiah. They reminded me that I was not as alone as I felt. Those lyrics reminded me that the God of my father was as powerful (if not more so) as I had been taught. As long as I served him, I had no reason to fear.

Most of all, I realized that in those words was the promise of a very bright future, for the future is always bright if we are God's possession.

I know that some disparage the songs of my generation for having short lyrics sung over and over and over (sometimes called 7-11 songs, seven words sung eleven times). That criticism, in some cases, is not without merit. But I also know that repetition is the best teacher, and in that place, on that night, at that period of my life, I needed repetition to drill into my head a great truth of Scripture: for those whose Lord is the God of Israel, they have no reason to fear and every reason to hope.

Has there ever been a time when you sang the lyrics of a song, only for them to echo back to you in order to inspire or instruct, to issue comfort or a challenge? If so, let me know your experience by leaving a comment.

And remember these words going forward today: "I am the LORD, Do not fear."

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