When His Name Is Lifted, So Is the Soul

I sat down at the piano, feeling a little nervous. I was starting to practice for leading in special music next Sunday, and although I have some talent in music, I think I’m sort of a jack of all trades, master of none type. I either nail it or mess up.

I was also a little preoccupied. As another week passed and a new one was on the horizon, I was worn. Every day required more of me, and every day I had less and less to give. And I knew what part of it was – I wasn’t giving enough personal time to communion with my Savior. I wanted more, I longed for more, but I either couldn’t do it or just felt too drained to try. So I was starving for His joy again. And I wasn’t looking for or receiving it.

I set the paper with the chords on the piano, a little crinkled. It had a faint stain from grease on the edge where I had grabbed it in haste after eating some pizza. A small drop of blood was on the other edge – my nervous habit of biting my nails taken too far had left its mark.

I sighed and held back the lump in my throat. I had already cried enough today. How did I get to feel so empty after experiencing a life so full?

The song, “Good to Me” by Audrey Assad, chosen originally for singing as a personal testimony, now felt like a slap of hypocrisy in my face. A testament to my failure of not being enough, not living up to my own proclamations of seeking and being filled by His grace.

But I was so lonely. I was so strained. I had begun to feel depression and shame and hurt, and I found my spirit whispering, “What is the purpose of this? How long?”

My thanksgivings resigned to aching pleas.

Weak, nearly-faithless pleas.

And although I had already been encouraged by the sermon on hope that night, and the Lord’s Supper that morning, I knew I was going to walk away and the onslaught of storms would still come. And would that sermon and that wafer and grape juice last me the week? I knew it wouldn’t. I need to continue to feed my soul day by day. But life just was not letting up.

I played the E chord in a higher octave, light. I sang.

“I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise…”

My stomach untied.

“I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness.
When I’m bowed down in sorrow,
I will lift up Your name.”

I felt my soul lift as I prayed the words.

I finished the song. I started again. I finished again. Then started again. And again.

Each time, I felt stronger, and I could feel my voice being clearer and purer. I could feel my belief in what I was singing becoming truer and deeper.

“Return, O my soul, to your rest,
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.”
Psalm 116:7

“You are good to me!”

When God’s name was praised and lifted, even my overwhelming burden couldn’t hold me down. By simply singing words that glorified Him, that testified to His truth, my soul was being restored. It was such a beautiful thing. God’s glorification satisfied even the emptiest parts of me.

“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalm 16:11

I continued playing and singing. I didn’t want to leave this place.

This place, where God’s glory filled, where His Spirit within me lifted.

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