By Rev. Bryan Davis
Music: you hear the sad symphony of it at a funeral; its joyful melody dances with the bride as she walks down the aisle to her future. It plays through the speakers of stores to prompt us to buy and in workplaces to motivate employees. We use it in moments of romance and passion, and it plays in our churches as we lift our hands to the Lord to worship and give Him praise and adoration. The melodious sounds of music play such an important role in films that even though few may remember the plotlines to Con Air, Titanic, or Disney’s Hercules, we all remember “How Do I live,” by Trisha Yearwood from Con Air, Celine Dion’s masterful voice singing “My Heart Will Go On,” from Titanic, and Michael Bolton’s rendition of, “I Can Go the Distance.”
Yes, there is just something about music that changes our hearts, captures our attention and reaches to the very depths of our soul. Most sermons are forgotten by the time the church service is dismissed; yet most people can remember what worship songs were sung. Few movie quotes are ever remembered, yet we can quote our favorite songs from memory.
When I was a little boy, my mom and I did a school experiment to discover if plants were affected by music. Interestingly enough, we found that when we played soft music to the plants daily, they grew faster than the plants that were not exposed to music. Another surprising result was that in the same experiment, the plants exposed to heavy metal withered and quickly died. I believe the same is true of how music affects our soul.
One day, I was driving down the road and I was feeling depressed and sad. As I pondered my despair, I realized my radio was on the local Country station playing all sorts of sad ballads. I heard about dogs dying, marriages failing, vehicles breaking down, drinking and every sort of hopelessness you could imagine. No wonder I was depressed! What goes in, is what comes out!
I popped in a worship CD and the difference was startling! As anthems of Christ began to permeate my vehicle, the depression quickly vacated my atmosphere and the presence of God Almighty engulfed the interior of my car. This was the moment that I had an epiphany … people stay depressed listening to other music because the majority of music is about us and our problems; but when we sing songs to Jesus about Jesus instead of singing songs about us, there is a shift from the problem to the Problem-Solver, and that’s when He can change our situation.
There is some secular music that I love and my intent is not to bash it, but even the best song without Christ is just another empty song. Music was never created to glorify the things of this world; music was created to worship God and magnify His Son, Jesus Christ! Music is so important that the Bible even tells us that when we enter Heaven and meet our Maker, all the habitants of Heaven will be gathered around the throne of God, worshipping. The 24 elders will be bowing before His throne while hundreds of Angels continually sing “Holy, Holy, Holy…” for all of eternity.
Yes, this is the purpose of music! Not only does music take us into God’s presence, music also helps us get through the hardest of our trials and gives us the hope we need to carry on. When I think of music, I think of the story of Haratio Spafford, who was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a blossoming legal practice, an exquisite home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devoted Christian and committed Bible Student. Mr. Spafford was best of friends with the likes of D.L. Moody, Ira Sankey and a myriad of other well-known Christians of the day.
At the highest elevation of his economic and masterful prosperity, Horatio and his wife Anna endured the horrendous loss of their only son. Shortly following their son’s untimely death, on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.
In 1873, Spafford organized a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much-needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He was also scheduled to join Moody and Sankey at an ongoing revival service in England.
Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him, while he stayed in Chicago to tie up some loose ends. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had sunk. All four of his daughters had drowned and only his wife had survived.
Mr. Spafford boarded a boat to take him to his mourning wife, Anna, in England. As the boat hovered over the watery grave of his four daughters, Horatio began to write a melody that would change the world. Its lyrics began with, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrow like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul..”
Something within Horatio Spafford, even in the midst of life’s hardest circumstances, began to bubble up as a musical melody from the depths of his soul; not a melody of hate or hopelessness, but rather a melody of praise in the middle of the pain. Labeled as possibly the greatest hymn ever written, “It Is Well” still touches hearts more than 200 years later. Why? Because not only did grief come from Mr. Spafford’s heart, but praise did as well and after all of these years, that same praise still carries with it the power of God Almighty.
If research is done thoroughly, one will find that the majority of Christian lyrics are written out of tragedies very similar to Mr. Spafford’s. Yet, we do not hear hopelessness in them, as we do in the songs sung glorifying despair. Instead, we hear praise to the One who is able to heal the broken-hearted.
Although man has perverted music, it was created for the sole purpose of worship and it is still a powerful tool for a Christian. It has the power to lift our souls out of the pit of despair and re-align our heart and thoughts with our Creator. It transcends us from this world of trouble into the presence of The Almighty God.
Rev. Bryan Davis is an Ordained Minister in the Church of God (Cleveland TN). Bryan runs a very successful Facebook ministry called Dwelling Point Ministries and is also very active in his community. Bryan has served as Evangelist Pastor at two churches. Currently Bryan, his wife Rebekah and daughter Brielle reside in Frederic, WI. Bryan is open to bringing the word of God to your church. For info contact Bryan directly at email@example.com
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