Friday, October 4, 2013

Songs from the heart


Along with great blessing comes great sacrifice. Consider Mary. She was told she would be the mother of the long-awaited Savior. This would mean great honor, yet with this blessing she would also be scandalized. Even Joseph did not believe that she could be pregnant without knowing a man, never mind the wags and gossips of the town. People would shake their heads and point their fingers, laughing at her and mocking her situation.

This great blessing meant the loss of normal life. Imagine raising a perfect child, taking Him to the play areas and being compared to other children by mothers who could not help but notice His obedience. Imagine realizing that your child would die on a cross, not for His own guilt but for the sin of the world. Imagine Him not answering your call because He was with what He called His family, a pack of sinners who had repented.
And yet Mary responded to this incredible challenge to her dignity, reputation and faith with a song . . .

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46–49).

Mary is a rebuke to me. When life hands me a blessing, I tend to focus on the sacrifices that go with it, even have pity parties over them instead of a victory party celebrating the blessing. My negativity bothers me, yet this perspective seems such a part of who I am that all my efforts to change it have been useless. The only thing that helps is spending time with those who are gifted to see the positive side of things, those who will point me toward the blessing instead of how much this is costing me. Such people are rare.

Mary had a wondrous faith, even a matchless faith. No one was ever blessed as she was nor experienced the challenges that went with that blessing. Only her faith in the goodness and purposes of God sustained her. Before the events told her by the angel could happen, she was singing praises. Her soul glorified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior.

At the very least, unbelief would have said, “Wait and see” or “This is not a good thing.” Fear would have driven her to silence and shame. But faith could not wait, complain, or be silent. Faith must sing, and sing she did.

Sometimes I wake in the morning with a song in my heart. I’m no singer, but the song rattles around inside my head and may even come out and be expressed (off key most times). The devotional reading suggests that a person like me might be tempted not to sing it until my hopes are accomplished and my small faith has been exchanged for fact. But that is not the case. If the song is there, so is the Holy Spirit who put it there. Because of Him, I must sing and can sing. Because of Him, my heart ignores the sacrifice or can rise to the challenge of it. In my normal self, this would never happen. I need the Holy Spirit.

I’m thinking this was the same for Mary. The same Spirit who blessed this virgin with a child in her womb also put the song in her heart and stayed there with her so that she could sing it. This is why her soul and spirit could magnify the Lord and rejoice in Him. He fills hearts and minds with Himself and gives songs — songs when the mercy is accomplished and songs for when the mercy is still only a promise. Because of Him, I can sing praises to God, even in the hours that require great sacrifice.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name . . .  (source)


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