Joy is peace dancing

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.  Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.       James 5v13

I like this Scripture because it is so realistic:  James was always so practical.  It is when we are happy that we want to sing, not when we are sad!  I felt guilty in church for many years about ‘not feeling like it’, particularly because I was trained as a worship leader to make the choice to praise God ‘because He is worth it’ and to bring that ‘sacrifice of praise’ especially if it seemed to cost me everything to do so.  I know for many years I encouraged others to put aside their own feelings, stand up and ‘enter in’, with the resulting judgements passed if anyone went against the flow!   Of course it is true that praise – even just lifting up your voice, taking a deep breath and simply singing something – does make you feel better.  And the Lord is so gracious He will come and meet us as we activate our wills and attempt to put aside our feelings and fears, engage with the Spirit and draw near to Him.   A corporate time of worship is one of the most encouraging things there is… as long as you do ‘enter in’!  As my husband always says, “the Holy Spirit only goes back three rows”, ie the keen ones at the front are the ones who get the benefit!

So, I don’t deny what I was taught, that praise does help us ‘enter into His courts’ (a Scriptural principle!), see His greatness and love and open us up to His touch.  But I am grateful that I also now know, as on a card a friend sent me some years ago, that ‘God loves us when we sing – and when we don’t sing’.  

When we are in trouble, yes James, we can pray, cry, groan, beseech – and rest in love and mercy.  When peace comes and hope again starts to rise at the answers and the grace that are given from heaven, the sight and touch of God that turns our ‘mourning into dancing’, the gifts and blessings that make life happy – then let’s use the outlet James prescribes for our joy, to bring the thanks and glory to the Giver and Comforter, ‘declaring the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light’ (1 Peter 2v9). Out of personal faith, peace and wellbeing the grateful song can truly rise from our hearts, a true testimony and witness of His salvation – and not just a song up on the overhead that was someone else’s experience and expression written down 10 years ago! 

I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me up out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord”    Psalm 40v1-3

Today I’ll be at the piano again, not fumbling my way through beginners pieces, but this time using the (very loud!) instrument of my voice, something I can actually do!  I’m having my first singing lesson for a few months and its ‘proper’ singing:  I’m learning operatic arias and loving it!   I’ve been silent (silenced?) for months: after years of leading others I lost my song.  Just like David (just 2 psalms after the quote above) I well remember when I used to lead the procession to the house of God, but I’ve been through a long season of pouring out my soul in tears and sighs.  So just singing again – singing anything! – has been a relief and blessing, an expression of life and creativity.

You know, I think I may even pick up my dust-covered guitar again soon and try that new song that is beginning to rise in my spirit…

About Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures
This entry was posted in Prayer, Quotable quotes, Rejoicing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Joy is peace dancing

  1. Jo Bentham says:

    It does indeed feel like a new season (ref previous blogs) and as a teacher I have always looked forward to the September turning point of the new term where there is always a fresh start and a blank canvas. I love the snail trails of autumn and the “seasons and mists of mellow fruitfulness” which testify to the richness of the hope that was spring and the warmth (!) that was summer. However, as I get out the new school uniforms and the new stationery, especially the new pencil case with the new pens and pencils, autumn hints at the new expressions and the new songs. Your new songs will allow you to cry out from the core of the darkness to a Father God whose depth of love will subsume the chasm and then your song will be able to lead to a chorus refrain which testifies to the faithfulness of a Creator God.

    Keep going SA. You have been freed not to sing, but you have now been freed to sing again.

  2. Mags Tyler says:

    When I sing they all run for cover, especially when I practise my operatic! Doesn’t stop me blasting out the ‘odd’ tune though, I like the idea that God is sitting there smiling saying ‘that’s my girl’. Although John Scotland says God has a filter in the sky to make us all sound like angels lol. I think it is a wonderful gift to be able to sing and am glad you are belting out a sound that will no doubt attract heaven. You’re the second person recently who said they might dust off their guitar….not a problem in our house as my 12 year old plays an electric and acoustic and they all play the drums!
    I’ve sent this to my friend as I heard her voice echoing in the words, so thanks I’m sure it will be an encouragement to her as well.

  3. Ruth Dyke says:

    I also heard my voice echoing in your words, I have been involved in worship and singing since a child and when I was a teenager, felt called by God to dedicate my voice to him, thereby ignoring a strong pull into the folk scene of the late sixties. My song has in the main been silent over the last year or so, because of family stuff, supporting my older son Ben, my beautiful daughter-in-law Hannah and their children whilst she fought an agressive terminal secondary cancer. We did all we could to facilitate God’s healing, an army of intercessors around the world were praying, she and Ben went to Bethel, Redding, Bill Johnson’s church for healing prayer. However, the Lord took her home, aged 36 yrs on Jan 1st this year, leaving our son in extreme mourning and Josh, the aged 5 and Charis, then aged 2, motherless. There have been difficult repercussions in the family as a whole, which have been extremely painful. So, I have been able, by the grace of God, to sacrificially sing and worship amidst the tears and mourning, but not had a song of my own to sing, other than prophetically, for which I thank God. It’s time to pick up my autoharp again and sing, wherever God opens a door and he will give me new songs to sing as I enter a new season in him. So I read your blog with interest and empathy. Thank you for sharing. Maybe one day I’ll begin a blog myself!!

    • Wow Ruth – what a testimony, and so close to home for me as we contend for Sam’s life with his brain tumour. So many parallels with many praying for us as well, but we don’t know what the Lord will do… However, we trust Him and yes, I will still praise Him. Bless you loads, sister – and yes, do tell your story! It’s powerful! X

  4. Steve Laker says:

    Integrity in our worship is surely what matters most and this shows that that is what you’re still going after… Keep going …

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