“Thank you for being patient with me,” he tearfully said.
I bowed my head in silent gratitude and thanked the God of breakthroughs. “And you with me,” I smiled, offering a truce, but there was no venom between us now, only grace. Gratitude and grace. Even now, a week later, I am still basking in the wonder of it all as I remember what God did in those minutes of sweet communion and worship.
I stood before the gathered crowd with a charge upon my heart. I asked God to change it. I asked Him to relent – not to make me bring what I just knew they wouldn’t want.
Yet, His charge was clear and my call unchanging as He urged me to obey. “Bring what you have, Sarah, and I will take it the rest of the way,” He whispered. And I walked it out, watching for His faithfulness to unfold. And it did. It always does.
As the room filled up, mostly of 60+ men – white and balding and all having worked in their respective ministries for decades – so did my heart with trembling. The Lord had called me to bring a “new song” to them, to bring fresh water into this sacred space. I confess, as I looked into their eyes and they looked warily into mine, we were both not convinced I could do it…or that it would even matter.
As the evening time for worship began, I stood to welcome them and to explain a few things.
“Tonight I am going to introduce some songs to you that you are not going to know. You are not going to know the words or the melodies, but it is going to be ok. The Lord has asked me to bring you a “new song” – a song to refresh, to restore, to renew your hearts and minds.”
I went on to explain how God had been showing me that all through scripture this concept of “new song” was vital to the process of renewal and restoration. Take a look:
“I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. (2) 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. (3) 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.”
“Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him.”
“Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.”
Same timeless Truths, sung in new ways.
He loves to hear them. Actually, He calls to His Beloved to ignite those songs into existence. It honors Him when we seek to express our love and gratitude with fresh joy, fresh hope.
Same Truths. New Songs.
Here’s what I am discovering: These new songs are opening up spaces of the heart that have become calloused, or even numb, to the truths and hope they express. Let me ask you this – have you ever been in church and they sing a song that you’ve heard a thousand times, and though you may love it, you find yourself singing along but your heart is far from affected or stirred?
And that troubles me.
I don’t want to be in the Presence of God and simply go through the motions. No way!
When I am in need of a breakthrough, desperate for a fresh Word from the Lord, I turn to His timeless Word for direction, for correction, and for inspiration. But, I also go in search of new music. New songs have a way of ushering in the truths that He is whispering to my soul and anchoring them within my heart. Can you relate?
Think about teaching children Bible verses, names of countries, or even the ABC’s. How do you set those concepts within the brain? You put them to music!
Music provides a conduit in which Truth breaks through.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Please hear me. I LOVE THE OLD HYMNS. Honestly, I do. I love the rich theology and history contained within them. I love to sing them and I do – all the time. What I am saying, however, is that God has shown me the value of bringing new songs to the table. Regularly and confidently. And that His Word testifies to the value and intentionality of doing so.
“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”
The elderly man that approached me at the beginning of this story, thankful for my “patience” with him, went on to explain his heart. As I leaned in to his explanation, he confessed that when I told the group I would be singing new songs, he was greatly disappointed. He said, “I didn’t like it at all. I like being able to know the melody and the words. I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to worship with you.” I sighed, familiar with this response. But he wasn’t finished.
“I needed to let you know how grateful I am that you were patient with us. You kept singing and inviting us to join you in these new songs. I need to tell you that these songs are breathing life into my heart like I haven’t felt in a long, long time. Thank you. Thank you for being patient with me…with us.”
Praise the Lord! And that’s what He does – and loves to do – pour fresh, living water into our open hearts, to revive, to restore, to remind us again the depths of His love, His grace, and His great faithfulness. What a joy!
So, if you are a worship leader struggling to introduce new songs to your congregation, don’t give up. Keep bringing that fresh water. Faithfully bring what you have and watch Him take it the rest of the way.
If you are a fellow worshiper and you struggle with “new songs,” I want to challenge you to press in to listening with an open heart and just watch what God does with your willingness to do so. I pray that as you listen, as you open wide to His timeless truths sung in new ways, you will find your soul revived in ways you may not have even realized you needed.
The song I want to share with you today is a “new song” (insert smiley face) from Elevation Worship, entitled, “Do It Again.” Listen and may your heart be awakened and encouraged. Hear the same timeless truths in a new way. Be revived. Be restored. Be reminded.
With joy for the journey,