God’s Presence Helps Me Sing
How can we celebrate in the midst of deployment?
The Bible records a lot about singing. This week you read about the children of Israel leaving Egypt and the songs that mark each important event. Songs in Scripture are about what God has done for his people, filled with thanksgiving and wonder of God’s might and power. Together, learn how singing helps express and process emotional pain to bring us to a point of praise.
About This Study
Anger, hostility, or even rage may be emotions that you experience from time to time. These intense feelings and the behaviors associated with them can cause great destruction in your life and the lives of others. Learn what righteous anger looks like and allow God to set you free from anger that controls you.
Cloudy days are reason enough for me to stay in my pajamas and curl up on the couch for a Netflix marathon. I do not need any other excuse. I can use clouds as a reason to put off errands that I need to do, and even cancel appointments that have been on the books for months. I can let lingering clouds affect my emotions. The longer they hang around, the darker my mood can grow.
As I read Exodus, I noticed that clouds did not bring about depression, excuses, or binge TV watching. In fact, when you see the word cloud, you can bet that God’s presence is in or near that cloud. This discovery is making me view cloudy days through a different lens.
The Israelites may not have known where they were as they traveled in the wilderness, but they did have a guide. The Lord provided them with shade from a pillar of cloud by day and light from a pillar of fire by night. Whenever and wherever the cloud moved, they were to follow. Knowing where they were going was less important than knowing who they were following. The cloud was a physical sign of the Lord’s presence. He did not leave them, day or night. His presence was to show them the way. If they kept their eyes fixed on the cloud, they would not be lost.
I know this waypoint carries a bold title, but in essence, this is what God, through Moses, said to the Israelites. God was not speaking to comfort troubled, anxious hearts. No, he spoke to motivate weak, pathetic faith. God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt because he heard their cry for help and deliverance. They did not get very far before they lifted different cries.
It is easy for me to identify with the Israelites. Put me in a precarious situation and my imagination can take off in all kinds of unhealthy directions. I then just need a swift kick in the rear to help me get a grip and to jolt me into reality, as Moses did by telling the Israelites to “stand firm and shut up!”
Here is the twist: The Israelites were afraid of the Egyptians. These were the same Egyptians the Israelites lived with and around for hundreds of years. The Israelites may have felt anger and frustration toward their taskmasters, but never this kind of fear. Why? They had never seen the Egyptians come against them as a hostile army. They knew the sting of their whips, but now they faced the point of their spears.
All of a sudden, the Israelites viewed themselves as weak in the face of the Egyptian army who could destroy them. The Egyptians did not present themselves as such a threat until the Israelites deployed out of Egypt.
Sister, do you see the connection? Challenges present themselves in a different way during this season of deployment. Existing situations may now become threats as they awaken weakness. Some of your same may begin to look very different during deployment.
You may have experienced anxiety, temptation, or feelings of hopelessness before, but deployment can make them look darker, and more difficult to overcome. The circumstances at home and your surroundings may not have changed, but they can present in a different way because of your husband’s absence. Guard yourself against thin-skinned faith and know the Lord can fight for you. Just as he drowned the Egyptian threat, he can drown the anxiety that can control you, the temptation that can destroy you, and the hopelessness that can defeat you.
I am not going to tell you to shut up, but I am going to encourage you to fear not and stand firm!
May I tell you a secret? Singing has helped get me through deployment. It is true. I love to sing. I am one of those people who need to carry a sign that reads: Caution! Will Break Out in Song!
However, I did not sing during the early months of my husband’s first deployment. I did not even sing sad songs. Then, one day, while reading Psalm 59, my eyes fell on these words:
But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you.
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.
That same day, after reading this psalm, I contacted a friend who also enjoyed singing. I suggested we get together and sing! We pulled a couple of other deployed spouses in with us. Before that deployment was over, our little group sang in chapel and at a couple of formal military events. Singing became a type of celebration for what God had done, what he was doing, and what he was going to do in our lives. Personally, singing helped me keep my focus on God and gave voice to my faith and hope.
The songs of Moses and Miriam gave voice to the faith of the Israelites. They celebrated the end of their captivity, but they also celebrated the hope of what was to come. I smile when I read of Miriam teaching the song of praise to all the women. The journey was not over; in fact, it had just started, but they sang a song of celebration.
Sister, do not miss the importance of celebration. Celebrate every victory. Build celebration into your schedule. You made it through the first day of deployment—celebrate! You made it through the first month of deployment—celebrate! You ate one piece of chocolate cake instead of the whole cake—celebrate!
Oh, there will be a celebration when your husband gets off the plane, but until then, sing in the face of fear and declare hope and trust for the future.
So sing, sister, sing! Sing in the shower. Sing in your car. Sing and be reminded that God is your fortress, is your refuge, and daily shows you his steadfast love!