Please, Don’t Make Us Sing These Songs

“Please, don’t make us sing these songs.”

When the Israelites were in captivity, they did not want to sing their songs of praise.  They did not want to sing the songs that reminded them of happier days.

Their captors wanted them to sing those songs so that they could mock them.  “Go ahead!  Sing!  Sing praise to your God, Yahweh, who did nothing for you!  Sing to the God who let us walk in to your homeland, steal you away, and bring you here—SING!”

The Israelites plead, “Don’t make us sing these songs.”

Instead, the song they want to sing is raw and bitter:  “Happy are those who dash your babies against the rocks, so then you will know how it feels.”

We hate you.  We hate our lives right now.  We don’t even know if God hears us.

Please, don’t make us sing these songs.

_________________________

Last night, I heard a friend say, “I’m just ready to give up.  What do I have to live for?  I’ve been waiting for God to do something…where is He?”

I have no answer.

I hurt for my friend.  I am angry along with my friend.  I am helpless to offer any solutions to my friend.

My friend feels raw and bitter.  I am certain there is some part of my friend that would love to see the source of their pain and anger get what’s coming to them.  I know my friend does not feel like praising God right now.  And I cannot blame my friend…I feel the same way.

Please, don’t make us sing these songs.

_________________________

Today, my friends will gather to lay the woman who is daughter, sister, aunt, and friend to rest.  Her mother died four weeks ago.  This family is hurting.

I am hurting for this family.  I shed tears thinking about this family.  I long to be physically present with them.

I know they are hurting.  I struggled to sing the songs in worship today.  I agreed with the words.  I have sung them many times before.  But today hurt.

Please, don’t make us sing these songs.

_________________________

Did you know that when Job’s friends showed up after his life fell apart, they did the greatest thing for a week?  For seven days, they offered the greatest help and support anyone could offer.

For seven days, they said nothing.  They just sat in silence with Job.

We struggle for words so often.  We want to find the right thing to say.  We want to take pain away.  We want to offer solutions.

Sometimes, we just need to shut up.

We need to hurt.

We need to say that we want our enemies’ babies dashed against the rocks.  Because that is how we feel.  That is what exists within our souls.

And to deny it or ignore it or hide it gives it power.

Please, don’t make us sing these songs.

It’s okay to not sing.  It’s okay to sit in silence with our pain.  It’s okay to invite people into our pain and ask them to sit in silence with us.  It’s okay to yell, scream, and cuss—even at God.

So today, if you cannot sing—please don’t.  And if you are with someone who cannot sing—please don’t try and make them.

Sit with them.  Be silent in their presence.  When you are with them, be okay with saying nothing.

_________________________

“Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope….”

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