God often enlightens me during the worship portion of a church service. My love of music and words makes worship services one of the best tools for God to speak to me. So many times we sing words to a song out of habit and never really apply the words to our lives. Believe me, when God began calling me to a life of missions a few years ago, song lyrics took on a whole new meaning. I couldn’t sing “I Surrender All” without a gut-wrenching understanding of what that truly meant in my life.
But just recently, with lyrics and music, God clued me in on what I was singing. Then he questioned me as to if I really believe what I had just sung. The words went something like this, “Creo en ti, Jesus, y lo que harás en mi.” For those of you who need a translation (which I suspect is pretty much anyone reading this since my Spanish speaking readers are pretty much non-existent — at least to my knowledge), the song basically said: “Jesus, I believe in you and what you will do in me.” Now these phrases put together seem fairly harmless and easy to swallow. However, they really aren’t. If we sing these words and whole-heartedly believe them, we are saying, “God, what ever comes my way, hurt or happiness, trial or temptation, I will believe that it is for my best.”
One verb makes all the difference. It’s not about believing that what he did in you in the past was beneficial, or made your faith grow, or turned out for the best, but it’s saying that in the future, down the road, what I will face, I will believe You are working for my good. No matter the pain, no matter the tears, no matter the loss. It’s a declaration of CHOOSING.
For many Christians who’ve shared years with Christ, the believing in Him isn’t the hard part. The difficulty lies in “what He will do in us.” Romans 4:18-22 is a perfect example of someone who could sing these words truthfully.
Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
Abraham believed in a promise and lived his life according to what God “would do,” not simply in what God “had done.” There is a big difference. The Bible reminds us that we will suffer trails (John 16:33). We know that everything in our future will not be pretty, will not be easy, but will in fact be painful and sometimes even unbearable. Will we be able to sing those lyrics during those times? Will we sing them now knowing that difficulties lie in our future?
That is the question of the day – the question we must live our lives upon. How can we live now as future believer, a down the road disciple? Is serving God only about surviving the now based on past experiences, or is it about thriving in the now knowing our future? Can we live as the old hymn says: Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds the future, and I know who holds my hand.”
May we sing words on Sundays that aren’t merely habitual but truly transformable.