I love to sing; however, I’m not a singer.
My childhood was cupped in music. At any given moment, someone in my house was singing, humming, chirping or crooning out some tune, made up or memorized. If we weren’t making music, we were listening to it, especially when Dad was home. He had speakers wired throughout the house (quite a feat for the 1980s), so the entire house buzzed with whatever new album he brought home.
In a house like ours, a song was not hard to find.
I have always carried music with me wherever I went. It has been my constant companion as well as emphasizing the important moments in my life. There has been a soundtrack for days that were filled with laughter and fun, vacations in the Georgian mountains, and getting ready for a date. There has been a soundtrack to everything I’ve done: taken history tests, getting a drink at the water fountain, doing dishes, and mowing the lawn. Songs take me back to life-altering moments: bitter breakups, birth of children, and the death of loved ones.
It’s an understood maxim that songs punctuate life.
When I became a Christian in my late 20s, it became obvious that, although they were useful at points in my life, the songs rolling around in my head were not meeting the needs of my new life. My previous post, “He Placed Me on My Feet,” details how I gained self confidence when Jesus placed me on solid ground.
Now I needed a song to go with that new found confidence.
Jesus never fails. In Psalm 40:3 (NLT) “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”
Not only did He pick me up and set my feet solidly on good ground, but He also gave me a song. Jesus didn’t wait for me to ask Him for something to sing, hum, or warble. He gave it to me to me like a friend giving my a tissue when I sniffle, or pen when I need to write something down, or a penny when I’m short in the checkout. He just gave it to me.
I don’t mean to diminish the song Christ gives as something insignificant, just the opposite. It seems like a small thing, but to the receiver, it is very important. It can be an encouragement, a day changer, a life saver.
He knew I needed it before I knew I needed it. To say I was between a rock and hard place when I cried out to Jesus is an understatement. I was at my rock bottom with no where to go except under the rock. Something deep within me told me that if I crawled under that rock, I would be hard pressed to come out (no pun intended, although it works well). The soundtrack playing in the back of my head wasn’t encouraging in the least. As I mentioned in “He Placed Me on My Feet”, Jesus let me see that there was hope, that hope gave me confidence in the future, and my new found confidence allowed me to stand on faith. In retrospect, it was all so small. I was looking just a few weeks, maybe months, ahead. That’s as far as my faith would let me go – a couple months. That is all I needed.
Jesus’ grace is sufficient for today. I set my sights on getting through the week by getting through each day. I knew if Jesus’ grace could cover me for just one day at a time, then He’d get me through the week. That was my song: Jesus’ grace is sufficient for today, and that gives me hope, which gives confidence, and builds my faith.
The tiny bit of Christian music I had was completely insufficient to help me, so I sang what I had. I crooned out a little ditty in the shower, in the car, at the sink, by the stove, and anywhere I felt I needed a boost. Jesus knew I needed a song before I did, and He gave it to me when He gave me hope.
My song was brand new and it came out of my circumstances. I had never sung a song like the one that Jesus gave me. I remember sing praise choruses and hymns in church and at church camp, but they never overflowed into my everyday life. Jesus gave me a new song, a song of praise and thanksgiving for hearing me, for rescuing me, for giving me hope. All of this I have said before, but it was brand new to me. It can be brand new for you, too!
I will always have something to praise God for, because He saved me from myself. He saved me from a life that was controlled by me. He saved me from being tied down to my simplistic, unfounded thinking. My new song is a praise to Jesus Christ! My praises are different than yours because my life is different than yours. Yes, the pit is miry old bugger that each one of us finds ourselves in, but at the same time, it is also a unique pit to each of us. We each find ourselves in the pit, but the details of that pit differ. When I sing “He took me out of the miry clay,” my miry clay has different ingredients than your miry clay, but it’s still miry and it still bogs us down. So although we all sing praises to Christ for lifting us out of that pit, our praises are new and unique because of the dirty details.
At first I wanted to hide my dirty details, but that’s not what Christ is about. Should we be sorry for the dirt? Yes, absolutely. Should we flaunt how dirty we were? No, absolutely not. Can we admit that we were dirty and, in the right context, talk about our dirt in reference to Christ’s saving grace and God’s loving mercy? YES and AMEN! Sometimes that is the only way others will get to see Jesus. It is through us, those that He has saved and transformed, that others will see that Jesus is real and put their trust in Him. I talk about my dirt, but I also give praise to Christ for what He, and only He, has done for, in, and through me. It’s a good thing to show how Jesus chipped your paint, and how He has repainted you.!
Sing your new song loud and proud, my friend. It chips off more paint than you know.
If you need a new song, cry out to Jesus. He will give you one.
I try to read my Bible before I get out of bed in the morning. Before I am able to focus my eyes, I thank Jesus for trusting me with another day, I give control of the day back to Him, and ask that I can honor Him and make Him proud. Once my eyes focus, I read scripture from my Nook.
As I was praying this morning, the old hymn “He brought me out of the miry clay. He set my feet on the rock to stay. He puts a song in my heart today, a song of praise. Hallelujah!” came to mind. I did a quick keyword search (feet on rock), and Psalm 40:2 popped up.
Psalm 40: 2-3 (NLT) “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”
He set my feet on solid ground. That phrase stuck in my head.
I thought about the day I cried out to Jesus, the day Jesus chipped the first bit of paint from me:
He picked me up. Only broken things need to be picked up. Broken people cannot stand on their own. Broken lives cannot function on their own. In the broken mess that was sucking me under, Jesus reached down and picked me up. I didn’t have to crawl out. I couldn’t. I didn’t have to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I couldn’t. Jesus, because He loves and cares for me, picked me up.
But Jesus didn’t stop there. He placed me on my feet. Jesus made a point of placing me on my feet. He didn’t lay me on the ground or plop me in a chair. He stood me to my feet. In that act of placing me on my feet, Jesus gave me confidence. He gave me the little bit of faith I needed to see that there was still hope. Placing me on my feet, Jesus assured me that I could walk the road ahead of me. If the God of the Universe thought I could do it, who am I to second guess Him? Who am I to say “I can’t” when the King of kings, the Savior of the world, said that I can?
He placed my feet on a rock – solid ground. No longer did I have to wonder about my life. As long as I had my feet on the ground in which Jesus placed me (His love and wisdom), I could move about confidently. I no long had to grope around to find solid ground because Jesus placed me smack dab in the middle of solid ground. I could now move, and breathe, and be a confident me! Finding that freedom wasn’t instantaneous, but with my feet firmly planted on solid ground, I now had the courage to be resolute. Jesus loved me so much that he wasn’t going to leave me to wander around looking for solid ground. He knew I couldn’t find it on my own, so He put me there and said, “Just follow Me and you will never fall into the sand again.” How did I know my feet were always on the solid ground? I didn’t, yet in small ways I did. If I had to talk myself into things, I wasn’t on solid ground, and I was more than likely headed toward the sand that would suck me back into the mire. If I was relying on my own understanding of things, I was headed for sand. But, if I was reading, studying, meditating, and attempting to applying His Word, then I was most assuredly on solid ground.
This is where I want to stop for this post. I will talk about the new song He has placed in my heart at another time. Right now I want the enormity of this insightful little nugget to reach deep into my mind, heart, and soul and do its miraculous work.
The beauty of this Psalm is that it is not just for David, the writer, or only for me. This Psalm is for everyone, no matter who you are or where you are.
Jesus is waiting for you to cry out to Him. He wants to do for you what He’s done for me.
My prayer is that even with all your doubts and fears, you will yell to Jesus for rescue.