GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?
My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul (Psalms 108:1).
King David, was the man God found who reflected His own heart. He more than anyone else in God’s story was God’s instrument to give us soul music. Just after our introduction to the shepherd boy we see God place him in the palace to calm Saul’s soul with music.
To read about David’s life is to see he fed his soul with music. With harp and pen he composed a hymnal that has nurtured countless souls of God’s people for the past three thousand years.
In contrast to King David I’ve never written a song nor can I play even a note on a harp or any other instrument. To feed from music I have to depend upon David and other musicians and poets who have followed through the centuries.
In spite of this deficit in talent and training I was born into a musical church. Like David, music for the soul was God’s assignment for Theron Jay a gifted tenor who drew the rest of us into his passion. Anytime there might be a three-minute void in a worship service Theron stood ready to fill it with a song. Through music he brought celebration to the soul at weddings and comfort to the soul at funerals.
In the tradition of King David, he taught us music to praise the Father and to feed the soul. Through words of rhyme and rhythm came profound instruction and expression of God implanted inner thoughts and feelings that served as formative food for my soul. I doubt it crossed my mind that I was being given a tool for soul nutrition. I’m sure I failed to realize the formative nature of the various hymnals used by our church over my eighteen years of youth.
Yet, I stand amazed at how often one of the old songs drops into my mind for a visit. It is as if they come by to feed my soul.
This year I’ve begun a strange project (get ready to roll your eyes). I pulled from my bookshelf the hymnal Songs of Faith and Praise. The book contains one thousand twenty-nine songs. The idea is to read each of them this calendar year.
Already I find myself humming as I read. Some are old friends while others are new acquaintances. I suspect I will ingest a healthy number of veggies along the way.
Among the instructions from Paul the apostle to the churches are the following two verses on the benefit of music to soul health.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord . . . (Ephesians 5:19) and Let the word of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit with gratitude in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).
To read slowly these two verses is to hear the power of soul music. It is a gift we can give each other and a resource we can possess to breathe life into our own soul. It lets God know our hearts beat with His.
Is it well with my soul? A portion of the answer just might be found in soul music.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Soul Music