Make a Joyful Noise
For almost two thousand years, Christians have used music as a way to worship God. We do this corporately every Sunday as part of our worship service. Most Sundays find us in good spirits with joyous hearts in a comfortable setting. The apostle Paul instructed believers to “address one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”, Ephesians 5:19-20.
Paul didn’t establish conditions on when it was appropriate or best suited to do this. In fact, Paul demonstrated this in his own life during some of the most difficult and trying times in his life.
In the book of Acts, chapter 16, we find Paul and Silas meeting a slave girl in Philippi who had a spirit of divination. She brought her owners much wealth through her fortune-telling. She followed Paul and Silas, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation!” We’re told that she did this for many days. It eventually annoyed Paul who finally turned to her and said to the spirit that had possessed her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” The spirit in fact left her that very hour. This obviously upset her owners who had just lost the source of their great income. They seized Paul and Silas and had them arrested. They also stirred up the crowd who joined in attacking them. The magistrates tore the garments off from them and gave orders to beat them with rods. After inflicting many blows to them, they threw them in prison.
What would be our reaction after being wrongfully arrested, beaten, and thrown in jail? Here’s Paul and Silas’ response. “At about midnight they were praying and singing hymns to God.” We’re not told what hymn they were singing, but they were worshipping and praising God in the worst of circumstances. We need to remember that it is usually through these hardships that we learn the greatest lessons about God’s faithfulness and our faith as it is tested. 1 Peter 4:12 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” In other words, expect it! Then he continues with, “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
Hardship and trials usually come at the most “inconvenient” time for us but planned at the precise time God chose. My hope and desire are that I remember to praise God at the onset of these trials and remember that He has a lesson in them for me. If you do some research on the old hymns, you will discover that many of them were penned during the most difficult and trying times of their composers, and often times right after a tragedy struck. A good time to sing and worship God is during all of our circumstances, and at all times! Praise God for His faithfulness and everlasting lovingkindness!