From Heartbreak and Pain to Praise and Song


I waited patiently for the Lord;
 he turned to me and heard my cry.
 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
 out of the mud and mire; 
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear the Lord
 and put their trust in him.
-Psalm 40:1-3

Is your heartbreak so great that the idea of a song in your heart might be too remote even to imagine?

You’re back to wondering and asking yourself, “Will I ever sing again? Will I ever even want to?”

The answer is, “Yes, absolutely.”

Why? Because it’s the kind of God you serve. He is the Source of the grateful song, and it’s his character to lead you out of whatever slimy pit you’re trapped in or unbearable sorrow that is overwhelming you, and bring you out with a strong hand.

The psalmist waited patiently for the Lord, and the Lord turned to him and heard his cry. Now he who suffered so long waited around long enough to see what would come of it (he didn’t throw in the towel!), and his waiting was rewarded with a hymn of praise to God. That’s really what the Psalms are all about: songs sung to, and about, God for his incomparable goodness.

It’s natural to look into the Bible to read of God’s faithfulness and rescuing power. Believers do it everyday. But we tend to overlook the fact that the church’s hymnal is also a powerful witness to the healing, delivering, and restoring power freely given to God’s people throughout the centuries.

Just think about it: page after page of almost any hymnal (or praise book) is a testimony to the fact that God has arrived on the scene, at just the right moment, in order to save from us every kind of sorrow and disaster known to man. It is a record of God’s family reminding us that he never sleeps, that he is ever mindful of our plight, and that at the right time a new joyful song is ready to be written—perhaps even by you.

The predictable result of God’s saving and healing action is the overwhelming desire to sing, to give voice and music to what emerges from the pain-ridden human heart that experiences the deliverance of God. The hymnal or praise chorus book should always be right next to the Bible. These are the perennial complements to each other. Trust that isn’t disappointed can’t help but sing.

We can add a third book to this powerful witness—the personal biographies of God’s people, all the innumerable stories of human experience, ancient and modern, that tell of his greatness in taking his servants out of the slimy pits of grief, disappointment, disillusionment, and heartbreak. You can’t even read them all.

This triple witness has no parallel in all the history of religion. Scrawled on the walls of caves, ruins of building, and on ancient papyrus scrolls are the bitter words of people utterly disillusioned with the gods of their own making and their failure to help in time of need. Read history—any history, in any era, by anyone. The sad story is the same.

But this isn’t you. Your trust is in the one and only God, the One who appears regularly on the scene of history to comfort and restore. If it isn’t happening to you right now, just keep waiting and you’ll see. Then you can write your own new song and sing it out to him.

It has to happen.

It is promised.


Dear God, my Father in heaven, even though I may not be able to sing a song to you right now, I look forward to the day I can. Maybe soon. But soon or late, I hope and wait for that day to arrive. Until that time, please grant me the unwavering confidence that a new, happy song will one day be mine. Amen.

John I. Snyder
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