Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
January 5, 2020
Finding the grit to handle adversity and fear
A new year begins. A new calendar replaces the old one. New beginnings are welcomed with joy and anticipation. But some things do not change. Mystery remains. None of us knows what the future holds for us.
The optimist believes wonderful days are ahead. The pessimist believes disaster is just around the corner. Actually, in one sense both are right because life is a mix of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, wonder and bewilderment. Year after year, we all experience the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Whatever else the year 2020 brings, it will bring to each of us our portion of pain, trouble and fear. To live victoriously we must find the grit to handle well whatever adversities we shall face.
For me, singing provides the grit I need to face my difficulties and fears. My inspiration for this conviction comes from the Bible. Though Job suffered greatly, he knew a God who gave him “songs in the night.” I know that same God and he has given me songs in the night.
Some nights I toss and turn, unable to sleep and I start thinking about dying. Fear disturbs me. Is what Jesus said about preparing a place for me in the Father’s House really true or does life end when the body is lowered into a grave? Disturbing thoughts sometimes trouble my soul in the night hours.
During those nights, instead of fretting, I start singing – in my soul so I won’t awaken my dear wife. Songs I learned growing up in church flood my mind – like “Living for Jesus,” with these words in the refrain:
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
I sing that refrain again and again. I repeat several times the words, “My heart shall be Thy Throne”! Then I recall and sing the first verse:
Living for Jesus,
a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
After singing that a time or two, I affirm that I am living for Jesus and doing so is a “pathway of blessing for me.” I am not a victim of my fears; I am on the pathway of blessing that leads to heaven! And I tell “Fear” not to slam the door on his way out of my house! If I am not soon asleep, I start singing another song that is precious to me:
My heart can sing when I pause
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a path that's winding always upward
This troubled world is not my final home
But until then my heart will go on singing
Until then with joy I'll carry on
Until the day my eyes behold my Savior
Until the day God calls me home
I love that song. My heartaches are stepping stones on that pathway of blessing that is leading me home – to my home in my Father’ House – and until then, by the grace of God “with joy I’ll carry one”! My troubles are nothing compared to the joy awaiting me on the other side.
I must admit that singing songs in the night is not original with me. I learned it from Paul and Silas. The Bible tells us those two men had been stripped and beaten – “severely flogged” Doctor Luke tells us. Thrown in to a stinking prison, their feet fastened in stocks, Paul and Silas were not fretting about their pain and trouble. About midnight they began “singing hymns to God”! Glory be!
If Paul and Silas could find the grit to do that, Walter can do it too! You can do it too! Even if you “can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” you can still sing in your soul! So get ready. Adversity is coming. Fear is knocking on your door. But when you start singing songs in the night about living for Jesus, and carrying on with joy until God calls you home, the peace and joy of victory will be yours! + + +