I am very picky when it comes to music, and even pickier when it comes to Christian music. The past few decades have delivered some lamentable samples of Christian musicians who either have never read the Bible or are terribly confused about what market they’re targeting.
But every once in a while, we’re blessed with some real gems. One example that I have really enjoyed recently is Taryn Leia Prescott‘s Songs of the Bride. Heartfelt, genuine and biblically deep, her lyrics draw heavily from the Psalms (there’s also a beautifully rendered hymn), with an unembarrassed honesty about the pain and passion of the Christian life. The music is simple and beautiful, and her voice artful and sweet. I have the joy of knowing Taryn and her husband Peter personally, and I know that they both mean and live every word in the album.
You can listen to all 7 songs here and purchase them for any price you want. There’s also an iTunes version here.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
I had said in my alarm (or haste)
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help. – Ps. 31:21-22
I think I can now identify better with these words. In my own distress, even with all the “relevant” knowledge behind me, I still felt that God had somehow given up on me. I didn’t dare put it in words, but what difference does that make to Him who knows the heart of man?
It is so easy to believe that. The problem arises, then it is compounded, and just when you think you can’t take any more, it gets even worse. This is how David felt here – and how can we not also hear Christ on the cross crying out “Eli Eli lema sabachthani” (Mat. 27:46)?”
I don’t know what the specific purpose of every vicious trial is for every child of God. But what I do know, what I found and still find comfort in, is the ultimate purpose of every trial and every single second of our lives (cf. Ps. 31:15a): To make us more like Christ, our firstborn brother (Rom. 8:29), and by doing so to glorify Him, and by doing so to glorify God (cf. John 17:1). If that is our greatest joy, if that is the purpose of our existence, then what trial can destroy us? How can we not rejoice in everything (Phil. 4:4)? And I also think that, if that is not our desire and delight, if we have somehow been distracted from the things that are above (Col. 3:1-2), trials come from our loving Father’s hand to chip away the impurities of our hearts that make us, often without even realising, to chase after other gods (Prov. 3:12; John 15:1-2).