“Sing to the Lord a new song…”
I was sitting at a conference about six weeks ago listening to a session taught by Richard Chin. He began by reading verses from Psalm 98. “Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
for He has done marvelous things!” Chin kept reading but my mind stopped there. In that moment I got stuck on this idea of singing new songs, and I have been mulling over it for about six weeks.
Come to find out, the phrase “new song” is found nine times in the Bible:
John Piper said, “There is a deep release and a relief that comes when we find a way of seeing and saying some precious or stunning reality that comes a little closer to closing the breach between what we’ve glimpsed with our mind and what we’ve grasped with our heart.”
As much as I long for the songs from deep within my soul to be ones of pure joy, I think my songs of sorrow can bring just as much glory to the Lord. In this season of my life, I have experienced more heartbreak, pain, anxiety, and despair than I ever knew was possible. One thing after another, it seemed, was being thrown at me. The Lord, though, remained faithful.
I experienced new depths of His grace and mercy. Even in the deepest and darkest corners of my mind and heart, His love and light broke through. I experienced His relentless love and comfort in ways I never had before. I learned to rely on Him to supply my needs. As what I knew in my head to be true of God was being taught to me in real ways through my circumstances, my heart began to grasp the knowledge in a new way. My new song began to form.
When driving home alone late at night reflecting on my day, when waking up in the morning to an overwhelming day, and when spending time with sweet friends that speak truth to me, the Lord works in me new songs. He puts words to my aches and to my laughs, and helps me to piece together the displays of His sovereignty so that I may articulate His character in such a way that brings Him honor and glory.
I wish I could say that I have been fully delivered from this season of heavy depression and anxiety and that I am singing new songs of great joy. The truth is, I am still walking through it. But, the Lord, in His goodness, has put a new song in my heart that I will gladly sing as I fight to rest in Him.
As I’ve learned from David’s psalms, it is okay to cry out to the Lord. It is okay to be honest, to speak of our sufferings, and to be transparent about our broken and crushed spirits. In fact, there’s roughly 65 Psalms that do just that. How encouraging to know that others before us have also cried out songs of lamentation to God.
It is important to remember that we must combat our struggles with the truth of God. In the psalms of lament that I’ve read, I’ve noticed a pattern. The writers speak of their pain, but also speak truth about who God is and what He has done. That is the beauty of the songs we sing; that they reveal sweet truths about our Father, whether they are songs of joy or songs of sorrow.
As I wrestled with the idea of what a new song should look like, I realized this simple truth: Regardless of my circumstances, and despite the groanings of my soul, my songs should praise God for who He is and what he has done. This I can do when I am overflowing with joy and this I must fight to do when I am drowning in pain.