Songs are important to me. They lift me up when I feel down. They help me put things into perspective. They allow me to see through the eyes of their creators even while speaking to me on a personal level.
I like most music, but not most lyrics. I have a hard time listening to secular music because they are increasingly more about pleasure and sin, so I have to listen to music with no words or Christian music. Sometimes, though, listening to Christian music leaves me scratching my head. If I wasn’t knee deep in my own study of the Bible, I can imagine I would be confused if I took the words from a lot of Christian music literally. I know, however, that the words of these songs have deeper meaning and only the Bible can really help clarify any confusion. Mainly because most of these songs came from stories or scriptures in the Bible. But not everyone knows that.
There is a particularly popular song that plays often that talks about trusting God even when He doesn’t answer prayer. To my ears, it might sound like God doesn’t always answer prayer, but in my Bible, I have seen that God always answers prayer. What’s confusing is that there doesn’t seem to be any real teaching about praying. What kind of prayer are we talking about? Perhaps that is the wrong question.
I think a more appropriate question would be what kind of devotion is in the heart of the person who is praying? Are we praying because we are in dire need and prayer is our last resort? If that is the case, then the person praying has devotion to himself (or herself). This person has no real devotion to God otherwise he would be praying all the time no matter what the circumstances. These are the people who seem to get no answers and then they question why? Or better yet, they question the very existence of God.
Another example of some of the words I hear in these songs are “hold on” and “let go”. So which is it? Do I need to hold on or do I need to let go? I can’t do both (at least not literally). Again, the answers are in the Bible and can provide untrained ear more information to understand clearly.
Hold on means have faith. Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” So this verse may sound a little harsh, but isn’t that how we all feel when we are dealing with adversity in our lives? Don’t we ask, “God, why me?” Job was a guy who knew how to hold on because he valued the Holy God above all of his possessions and family and friends. God was way up here while everything else fell far short.
Paul is another one who knew how to “hold on”. He took his faith a step further and used it to encourage young christian communities while he, himself, was locked up in prison waiting to be tried because of his faith in Christ. How’s that for a twist? And prison for him wasn’t like our modern prisons. He was pretty much in the sewers and dungeons, dark, gloomy and nasty. But what does he say? He insisted on being thankful and tells his followers to do the same. Colossians 2:6-7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. His life didn’t depend on his circumstances in prison, waiting to be tried and executed. His life was in the hands of Jesus Christ, exactly where his heart and his faith were.
Okay smarty pants, so then where does “let go” come from? “Let go” is what we have to do before we can “hold on”. We have to surrender ourselves to the unimaginable, crazy love that God offers us through His Son, Jesus. That is what letting go is. Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” What He said is, he who finds what he wants in life and goes after it is only in love with himself and at the end of his life here on earth, he will be lost. But he who finds that what Jesus wants is really the perfect way to live will no longer be concerned with himself because he is focused on Jesus and His love for all of us. So, when he comes to the end of his life here on earth, he will see and feel the salvation that Jesus promised from the beginning and get to experience it for eternity.
Okay, maybe my interpretation isn’t perfect, but that is how I see it. If I surrender my selfishness and ambitions in order to become a servant or slave to Christ, then I will actually reap the highest reward. If I choose to serve only myself, then my reward remains here in the physical world and when I pass on, I get nothing but separation from God.
So, the next time you hear the words of a really good song and they tell you to hold on or let go, remember what they really mean. Surrender and have faith. You won’t regret it.