Can I confess something to you? I dislike mopey, despondent songs… even Christian ones. I was listening to one this morning on YouTube. It was a Christian band of hipsters from the Northwest, sitting on the beach moaning about something… I couldn’t understand the words. (I’m starting to sound like an old man now!).
My attitude is not right… I know. I’m being harsh and unsympathetic. But why does this bother me so much? I mean, as we’re reading through the Psalms, King David pours out his heart to God many times in distress and I’m not annoyed by that. I guess when he does it, it seems appropriate. When a hipster does it, I’m thinking: “What could you possibly have to complain about? Look at the rest of the world!” That’s unkind, I know. I’m being a jerk. We are not all given the same level of trials, and what might seem like an insignificant bump in the road to one would be a crushing blow to another. Fair enough.
But maybe here is the balancing truth…, the Psalms have BOTH cries of anguish and shouts of praise. Neither one is a lifestyle or identity, but rather a season.
As we read through the Psalms for this week (Psalms 91-95) look for times when the Psalmist calls us to be “glad” (92:4) or “sing for joy” (95:1) or “come before his presence with thanksgiving” (95:2).
In the next section, Psalms 96-100 this call to joy is especially pronounced… “sing to the Lord a new song” (96:1), “let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice” (96:11), “the Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice” (97:1), “shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises” (98:4) and “serve the Lord with gladness” (100:2).
So maybe here’s what we need to embrace. There will be times of despair in our lives when we lose our way… when we can’t see the sun and all seems bleak. But again, this must be a season not a lifestyle. There must also be times of whooping it up to the King of Kings! For if we don’t do that, our cries of despair have no meaning. When complaining becomes the defining characteristic of our lives, then its not healthy or good. I suppose too, the converse is true. If we don’t know how to cry out to the Lord and feel like we need to pretend everything’s great when it isn’t, something’s wrong there too.
So let’s come to the Lord with ALL our heart. Let’s bend our hearts towards thanksgiving and praise. That should be the norm. Then when trials come, our painful cries will be put into the context of a thankful heart.