photo by: Shirley/Oklahoma/July 2009
Pain Sifted
originally written 7 Jul 09 
posted 17 Jul 09
I was talking with a dear friend today about pain…and about how music can reach us in the deep places and how it can be soothing when the darkness threatens to rob us of our very breath.

I often thank God for the gift of music.  Music has, for so very long, played a key part in my life.  When I’m happy…when there is victory…when there is tragedy…and most especially, when I am deep in despair…there is always a song that just “fits” the circumstance and exalts, rejoices, soothes, or uplifts.

I love to share music with my friends…especially when they are in the midst of rough times.  A song can be there in the dark times, across the miles when I can’t be there to wrap my arms around them and share the tears.

Recently there was a tragedy in one of my friends’ lives that no one could have ever possibly imagined happening.  The shock and grief has had a ripple effect on all who knew this family.  As I spent a night with little sleep and many tears, I awoke to find this waiting in my inbox (K-love’s encouraging word subscription…they send a verse out each day):

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."
~ 2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT

Those words were the exact words I needed to hear…a timely reminder that God blesses us so that we can bless others.  

Life is full of pain…but when we allow God in…that pain is not wasted.  He can bring something good out of it.  That has always been a marvel to me…that anything good can come out of the painful situations we sometimes endure.

I was saying to my friend that I thank God that those musicians have shared these songs…the songs that I sing when I am hurting so bad that I cannot breathe…and then it hit me…these words that have been put to music so perfectly…these words were borne out of pain…deep & sometimes crushing pain.  Those folks allowed God in…they allowed Him to meet them in those dark moments in their lives…and a blessing was given. 

He promises to bring good out of our pain.  Here is a perfect example of that good.  Giving people the gift of music…so that their pain is not wasted and buried…but poured out into a song that can be shared with so very many who need to hear those words, feel that melody…who need that perfect combination of word and music to get through one more minute of the deep pain they are experiencing.  To move through the pain to get to the healing part.  

When I have had those moments of intense pain…so deep and so excruciating that I can barely breathe…it has often been a well-written and delivered song that ministers to me.  A song that not only connects with my pain but also one that provides a light….a light of hope that this is not the end…that there is a Love deeper than my pain.  A song pointing to the Love that can reach me even in the deepest, darkest pits….in those places where no one else can reach me.

I am thankful for music…so very, very thankful.  God knew exactly what He was doing when He created it…and also when He gave these gifts to those who would share it.

I love so many songs…a wide range of genres to fit nearly every occasion.  I have a list of songs for when I am angry…a list for when I am broken…a list for when I’m ready to fight…and one for when I’m ready to worship…just to name a few conditions that my heart finds itself in.  : )
There are so many melodies are dear to me that it is too difficult to choose a favorite one…but here are a few that have ministered to me in various times of pain…when I needed hope to cling to, these have lit the way for my heart when it’s been broken:

“Keep Singing” by MercyMe
“Held”, “Safe”, and “Our Hope Endures”—Natalie Grant
“Broken Hallelujah”—Mandisa 
“I’m Not Alright”—Sanctus Real
“Hold Me Jesus”—Rich Mullins

And I just heard a new one this morning that, I’m sure, will be added to this list when the dark times ahead knock me down…

"Stars Will Fall”—Aaron Shust

The playlists are often changing…as my heart continues to grow and change and mature (hopefully…*giggles*)…and as more and more musicians share their experiences and talent through their songs.

A hearty thanks to all who share their music.  And thanks, most of all, to the One who created the gift of song.  He knew we would need it.  : )
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