And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:3
When I first started really getting a handle on my depression, Psalm 40 became my new favourite chapter. It was around then that I decided to start blogging. Jen’s New Song was inspired by this verse because at the time I really felt that the Lord had given me a new song, a new outlook on life. I learned so much about coming out depression and hard times through this chapter.
The term, new song, implies hope and optimism, purpose and meaning, wonder and love for God. But the part about this verse that is not so wonderful is the fact that there had to have been an old song before there was a new one. In verse one and two David says that he had been in the pit. A horrible pit. With miry clay. That’s exactly what I felt like when I was in the midst of depression. Maybe you don’t struggle with depression, but you have a pit of some other making. Sometimes my health issues feel like a pit. Sometimes hard circumstances feel like miry clay. Bottom line is, old songs are not happy ones.
So what if right now your life is an old song? What can you do? The first thing we can learn is to cry out to God. I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. (vs.1 & 2)
When I went to Israel, our guide would often warn us before going into certain buildings. They were considered holy places and we were warned to not laugh, to be very quiet, and some places we were not even allowed to speak. I think that often we feel this is the way we must approach God. Yes, God is holy and deserves our reverence and respect, but we are to come to Him in honesty and sincerity and to have a real relationship with Him. Rather than the holy places in Israel, I’d like to think approaching God is more like stepping into Harvesters, my church. Its a beautiful old building covered in wood with sunlight streaming through old stained glass windows. But if you listen to the sounds of it, there is laughter. Little kids running around, smiles on old ladies’ faces, tears as we share our burdens. You cannot have a real relationship with someone and hold back parts of yourself. God wants us to cry out to Him! Sometimes flowery, beautiful prayers are awesome, but sometimes you need to cry out! Be honest. Be sincere. Some things in life are hard and horrible and miry. Go ahead and talk about it.
Then wait patiently. Have hope in God. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:5 Help is coming. Circumstances may change, they may not. They may even get worse. But help is coming. God is hope. Even if circumstances don’t change, if you let the Lord change you, the circumstances start looking much different. But no change comes without opening up yourself to God. So if you find yourself singing the same old song, maybe its time to cry out instead. And hope. Always hope.
Once God has given you that new song, praise Him! Praise Him privately, but praise Him publicly too! David says here that one of the reasons that he’s excited about his new song is that many would see it and come to God through it. Maybe you dwelt in the pit so you would know how to help someone else out of it. Once you’ve been in the pit, you remember how it felt so you can have empathy, and you now know the way out so you can pull someone up.
Years 2-4 of Emma’s life were like a pit for me. Not only was I struggling with my own issues, but I had this child who just didn’t seem to get how we did things in this family! Her older siblings would try to pull this kind of behaviour, there was a consequence, so they didn’t do it again. Or at least not too many times. This girl just didn’t seem to learn. The same thing over and over. Hours of crying. Sometimes in one day. Sometimes both of us at the same time:) The story of those three years deserves its own blog post. Or several:) Maybe I’ll do that one day. I could not understand why God gave me a child like this! It went against every rule-loving bone in my body. But eventually we both learned how to function together. But by the time she turned five, she had her behaviour mostly under control and she’s now a semi-sweet and mostly well-behaved little girl:) Over the past two years, I’ve had a couple of young moms approach me to talk about their toddler. Now, I’m not 100% sure Emma is actually going to turn out, so mostly I just let them know to cry out to God! But several weeks ago, a mom started texting me at 11:30 at night. We had a wonderful chat. I don’t know if it helped her, but it was as though God was reiterating to me yet again that the horrible pits and miry clays can have great purpose. I was able to sing a new song to that mom. Don’t be afraid to sing that new song at the top of your lungs! God deserves the praise and those around us need the encouragement and the testimony. There is always something wonderful to sing about, if you’ll let the Lord show it to you.