“When people see me in my wheelchair and ask about my persistent smile, I always say, ‘I’ve learned to sing my way through suffering”. These words were spoken by Joni Eareckson Tada who became a quadriplegic at the age of 17 and has suffered in constant pain ever since.

While Joni indeed has demonstrated the life of a woman who sang her way through her never-ending suffering, my guess is that those songs were not all songs of joy, but rather mixed with songs of lament.

People like Joni Earekson, Corrie Ten Boom, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer are all admired for their tenacity, faith, and willingness to sing in the storm. Hundreds of saints have gone before who have been proven as faithful. What is your true heart response to these individuals? Do you ever find yourself saying, “that’s fine for them; I just don’t think I can withstand that kind of suffering?” What about that verse that says that God won’t give us more than we can handle? Not only does that verse not exist, but God actually tells us that we will suffer. We will experience trials. We will go through storms and feel deep pain. Yet in all of this, God hears our cries. 1 John 5:14 reminds us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” What a beautiful thing it is to know that God hears our cries! And with that reality, God tells us to sing.

Singing may be as James commands, to be done with joy. James 1:2 says to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.” It is through trials that we learn to persevere, to mature, and to even thrive amidst life’s greatest challenges. Singing may also be done in lament. David cries out in Psalm 6:3 with, “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” Do you ever find yourself asking, “how long, oh Lord?” Theologian Walter Brueggemann says, “Worship isn’t about feeling good – it’s about telling the truth. Sometimes the truth is that life is hard, events are scary, and justice is hard to find. When we leave these realities out of our worship, we stop telling the truth. Most notably, we fail to tell the truth that God can do something about these struggles and that our suffering matters to God.”

Do you believe that your suffering matters to God? When was the last time that you sang out your anguish to him? Try adding “Praise You in This Storm” Casting Crowns – Praise You In This Storm (Official Lyric Video) by Casting Crowns to your playlist this week. Crying out in the storm may mean a song of lament or a song of joy. Either way, you too can find yourself singing in the storm.

Lynette Fuson 
Director of Care & Counseling

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