I grew up singing and surrounded by singing. I remember my mom putting a hymn book in my lap when I was a small child and telling me that I needed to start singing during church. It took me some time to figure out the format of the hymn book which seemed confusing for someone who had only just started reading, but once I was helped to figure it out, singing gradually became an important part of my life.
Over the last few days, I’ve been in the midst of trying to figure out several logistics related to my upcoming stay in France. Yesterday in particular as I sat sorting through some papers to file away or discard, I just felt absolutely overwhelmed by it all. I decided that the best solution at that moment was some fresh air, so I took a long walk and tried to clear my head and pray that God would help me in the decisions I face. I felt better and more refreshed but still somewhat troubled by a need for solutions.
In my experience, I have found music to be one of the most powerful ways of ministering to a soul in need of encouragement. One of the most powerful dreams I ever had was singing with a group of people who were standing outside next to a lake rejoicing. For whatever reason, I was separated from them by some sort of a barrier and couldn’t get to them much as I wanted to. Yet, I could clearly see them standing in a group together and hear their voices singing a capella in perfect beautiful harmony as they raised their arms in praise to the Lord. In my dream it was like I knew them though I couldn’t tell you their names or even where we were. I don’t even know what song we were singing, but it was beautiful and I knew the words. It was a powerful brief glimpse I’ve never forgotten.
Last night, I dreamed of singing one of my favorite songs in Sacred Harp “Lloyd”. I’m usually better at remembering a tune than I am at remembering all of the words in order, but the singers and I sang all of the verses of this song from memory. The words were written by Isaac Watts in 1719:
My Savior and my King,
Thy beauties are divine;
Thy lips with blessing overflow,
And ev’ry grace is Thine.
The smilings of Thy face,
How amiable they are;
’Tis heav’n to rest in Thine embrace,
And nowhere else but there.
Nor earth, nor all the sky,
Can one delight afford;
No, not a drop of Thy real joy,
Without Thy presence, Lord.
It was reassuring and sweet to think upon as I slowly woke up this morning with that song on my heart. It is not the first time I have been stressed and then calmed by dreaming of singing with my kindred in Christ. The Lord knows me so well that He knows how music touches me, thus what better way to remind me of His promises than through the music I love so dearly?
As I ponder these things, I am reminded of my need to look to Him when I don’t know which way to turn or what path to take exactly. This is all so very temporal and yes, these decisions do have to be made, but as He is teaching me over and over, I can’t swallow it all at once. I have to take it one step and one decision at a time. This means that although I acknowledge that there is a lot to be done, I have to look at it through the lens of what I can do today. If I focus on what I know I can do today and pray for guidance for what is yet to be done, slowly things will begin to fall in place as I make these inquiries. If anything, it will help my peace of mind especially as I reflect on the many prayers He has answered so far.
He gave me a song in the night. He knows what the future holds and what decisions I need to make. How can I not trust Him? It is truly “heaven to rest in Thine embrace and nowhere else but there”.