Two and half miles into my afternoon walk, my playlist betrayed me. After several upbeat workout songs, the slow guitar strum and strike of a piano key indicated the beginning of “Hammer and a Stone” by Seven Mary Three. My eyes welled up. I had that instant lump in the throat…you know the one I’m talking about…the one that feels like 10,000 weights are lying on your chest or a wad of bubble gum is stuck halfway down your throat. To someone watching from afar, my stride broke and I became still. My exercise session interrupted by a song; by an emotion; by a memory.
There are other songs that make me react this way. More times that I can count, I’ve stood at the position of attention in uniform, willing the tears to not fall, while listening to the National Anthem. The lyrics of “Oceans” by Hillsong make me cry nearly every time I hear them. Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”? Cry fest. “Who Am I?” by Casting Crowns…lyrics that start the water works.
How can a song impact us so completely? How can it transport us to another place? To a memory better left alone or one that should be routinely revisited? To a place of worship…a place of sadness…a place of contentment?
Song lyrics are an effective way for us to connect and explain emotions that are often inexplicable. Often a song is the journal of our heart. Sometimes they are the vaults of our memories. Occasionally, they are just fun songs that don’t have to have a specified memory, but rather mark a time in our lives.
What song do you remember from your first dance? What song was blaring from the radio when you were cruising by the beach? What was the song playing when your Grandmother took her last breath or your child their first?
It made me start wondering about God. How does He react to songs? Do songs make God cry? Does He experience similar reactions when we sing to Him? What does the Bible say about songs?
Some sources state that there are over 185 songs about God in the Bible. The book of Psalms is a book of songs for God. The Song of Solomon is one of the beautiful romance songs between a groom and his bride. The book of Lamentations is comprised of five songs of mourning over Jerusalem.
The Bible is filled with songs, but it’s also filled with countless examples of God’s people singing. Moses and Miriam sang. King David certainly sang, as did King Solomon. Imagine Samson singing! We see Deborah and Baruk singing songs of praise to God and victory. Even today, the Word of God is used in current songs.
If I have such an enormous reaction to a memory or emotion embedded into a song, imagine how God feels when He hears us sing a song to or about Him! I have a hard time imagining God with a lump in His throat, but I can very easily imagine Him looking down benevolently on those who sing His praise.
What songs are on your heart today?