From as long back as I can remember I have deeply loved music. I remember thinking even when I was around 7 years old that the very first piece of furniture in my own house would be a piano, (no, it wasn't, but that's a whole other story).
In my adolescent years I remember music being the outlet for my emotional rollercoaster, whether wading through the battle ground within my own familly, or struggling through those junior high and high school years of peer pressure mixed with low self-esteem. I found a false comfort in commiserating with the highly fused hormonal outpouring of my favorite rock bands, and clung to their expressions of anger against society. It gave me that longed-for sense of belonging with many other friends who also found music to be their 'therapy of choice' during a time when the world seemed to be losing its grip on hope for tomorrow, and joy in today.
While my deep love and appreciation for music never changed, my taste in the genre eventually did. The Lord uses all things for the good - and He knew that music was an important key to so many places within my heart which had been kept closed to Him. However, it would not be until several years after I was married and had children that I found myself seeking a greater purpose and a peace that I knew the world could not give.
It was soon after my heart began to open willingly to His grace that I discovered the immense power and joy that lived within Christian music. It was a whole new world for me, and I was enamored by how the Living Word could unite Itself with the joy of music. I found myself experiencing the peace of His Spirit and the love of His Heart pouring from the works of so many Christian artists who obviously knew the same Jesus that I was falling in love with - and it was AWESOME!
Then I discovered Worship Music ! Woah..... where had THIS been all of my life? Going to a seven day conference with other Christians and singing with everyone about the awesome glory of the Lord was almost surreal. Here were these very talented musicians, singing these powerful songs focused on the profound love of God - and the entire room full of 600+ people were singing together with one heart and one voice. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!
For the first time I began to understand that famous quote attributed to St. Augustine, "When you sing, you pray twice." The joy that came from the deepest part of my soul was lifted to Heaven in those songs of worship, and I knew in my heart that these prayerful lyrics were ascending to the Throne of thrones. The delight of His Heart was tenderly being poured into mine.
I share this story with you because I believe that the Lord uses the gift of music quite often to touch our hearts where His words are not always welcome. The gentleness of the message and the sweetness of the tune opens our ears and we allow Him to enter in, without even knowing that His word has now been allowed safe passage.
Such is the music of so many Christian artists like Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mark Mallett, Casting Crowns, Nichole Nordeman, Amy Grant, Mandisa and MercyMe, to name just a few. The Holy Spirit uses His fire within their hearts to form beautiful 'prayer songs', carrying the flame of faith into the heart of each listener through their open ears. Herein lies another secret weapon of Holy Wisdom.
This is the music that captured my heart, brought me peace on very difficult days, ignited my joy on cold winter evenings, carried the balm of healing in times of grief, and continually refueled my desire to do God's will. While it did not replace that deep contemplation of silent prayer, it often opened the door for the Lord to enter more intimately.
Within a short period of time after finding such profound music available from such a variation of artists, I realized that my desire to hear any other type of music had entirely vanished. The only music I now enjoyed was that which carried the joy and hope of His Word in its message.
Why waste my time on anything less ?
At The Cross (Love Ran Red), by Chris Tomlin
There's a place where mercy reigns and never dies There's a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I've ever found Comes like a flood Comes flowing down
At the cross At the cross I surrender my life I'm in awe of You, I'm in awe of You Where Your love ran red And my sin washed white I owe all to You, I owe all to You Jesus