By Â Rev. Bryan Davisâ€‹
Music:Â you hear theÂ sad symphony of it at a funeral; its joyful melody dances with the bride as she walks down the aisle to her future. It playsÂ through the speakers of stores to prompt us to buy and in workplaces toÂ motivateÂ employees. We use it in moments of romance andÂ passion, andÂ it plays in our churches as weÂ lift our hands to the Lord to worshipÂ and give HimÂ praise and adoration. The melodious soundsÂ ofÂ music play such an important role in filmsÂ thatÂ even though fewÂ mayÂ remember theÂ plotlinesÂ toÂ Con Air, Titanic, or Disneyâ€™s Hercules, we all remember â€œHow Do I live,â€ by TrishaÂ YearwoodÂ from Con Air,Â Celine Dionâ€™s masterful voice singingÂ â€œMyÂ Heart WillÂ Go On,â€ from Titanic, and Michael Boltonâ€™s rendition of,Â â€œI Can Go the Distance.â€
Yes, there is just something about music thatÂ changes our hearts, capturesÂ our attentionÂ andÂ reachesÂ to the very depths of our soul. Most sermons are forgottenÂ byÂ the time the church service is dismissed;Â yet most people can remember what worship songs were sung. Few movie quotes are ever remembered, yet we can quote our favoriteÂ songs from memory.
When I was a little boy, my mom and I did aÂ school experiment to discover if plants were affected by music. Interestingly enough,Â 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 metalÂ withered andÂ quickly died.Â I believe the same is true of how music affects our soul.
One day, IÂ was driving down the road andÂ I was feeling depressed and sad. As IÂ ponderedÂ myÂ 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,Â drinkingÂ and every sort of hopelessness you could imagine. No wonder I was depressed! What goes in, is what comes out!Â
I popped in aÂ worshipÂ CDÂ andÂ the difference was startling! As anthems of Christ began to permeate my vehicle,Â theÂ depression quickly vacated my atmosphere Â and the presence of God Almighty engulfed the interior of my car.Â This was the moment that I had anÂ epiphany … people stay depressed listening to other music because the majority of music is about us and our problems;Â butÂ when we sing songs to Jesus about Jesus instead of singing songs about us, there is a shiftÂ from the problem to the Problem-Solver,Â and thatâ€™sÂ when He can change our situation.Â
There is some secular music that I loveÂ and my intent is not to bash it,Â but even the best song without Christ is just another empty song.Â Music was never created to glorify the things of this world;Â musicÂ wasÂ created to worship God and magnify His Son,Â Jesus Christ! Music is so important that the Bible even tells us that when we enter Heaven and meet our Maker,Â allÂ the habitants of Heaven will be gatheredÂ around the throne of God, worshipping. The 24 elders will be bowing before His throne while hundreds of Angels continually singÂ â€œHoly, Holy, Holy…â€Â forÂ all of eternity.
Yes,Â this is the purpose of music! Not only does music take us intoÂ Godâ€™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,Â I think of the story of HaratioÂ Spafford, whoÂ wasÂ 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.Â Mr.Â SpaffordÂ was best of friends with the likes of D.L. Moody, IraÂ SankeyÂ 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 sonâ€™s untimely death, on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that SpaffordÂ had.
In 1873,Â SpaffordÂ 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 SankeyÂ at an ongoing revival service in England.Â
SpaffordÂ 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 andÂ only his wife had survived.
Mr.Â SpaffordÂ boarded a boat to take him to his mourningÂ wife,Â Anna,Â 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, â€œWhen peace like a riverÂ attendethÂ my way,Â When sorrow like sea billows roll;Â Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,Â it is well, it is well with my soul..â€
Something within HoratioÂ Spafford,Â even in the midst of lifeâ€™s hardest circumstances, began to bubble up as a musical melody from the depths of his soul;Â 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, â€œItÂ Is Wellâ€Â still touches hearts moreÂ than 200 years later. Why? Because not only did grief come from Mr.Â Spaffordâ€™sÂ heart, butÂ praise did as well and after all ofÂ these years,Â that same praise still carries with it the power of God Almighty.
If research is done thoroughly, one will find that theÂ majority of Christian lyrics are writtenÂ out of tragedies very similar to Mr.Â Spaffordâ€™s.Â 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. Â
Although man has perverted music, it was created for the sole purpose of worship and it is stillÂ a powerful tool for a Christian.Â It has the power to lift our souls out of the pit of despair and re-align our heart and thoughts with our Creator.Â 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 firstname.lastname@example.org