At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this last year has been nothing if not interesting. Though there were tough days, there were some beautiful truths that gleamed as well. And one of them was a new understanding of the phrase “sacrifice of praise”. I never understood what that meant, honestly; wondering why such an oxymoronic phrase existed in the Bible in the first place. “Praise” I understood, and so too, “sacrifice”. But both together? Now that demanded a whole new level of thinking. Shelving it as just another bit of Christian jargon, I never gave it much thought, until last year. Unsurprisingly, being thrown into the deep end of the pool ensured that I caught on rather quickly. Truly, God is good!
I remember feeling especially low one day and though I kept thinking of the various truths I knew in the Word, nothing seemed to lift the gloom that had settled on my mind and heart. As I half-heartedly shared this with my sister over a phone call, she suddenly told me, “Put the phone down and go sing.” She’s a psychologist so, at first, I wondered if she was trying to psychoanalyse me or try some weird mumbo-jumbo (sorry Becky!). But when she’d repeated it several times, I realised she seriously wanted me to just go and sing. And she was very clear that I sing out loud. Feeling like a bit of a fool, I cut the call , found a CD of Christian songs, and put it on. As the music filled the house, I joined in. This thrilled my two-year-old to no end, and she kept shouting, “chong, mumma, chong!” interspersing my off-key singing with her yells.
That was the first time I offered a sacrifice of praise to God. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t beautiful, but it was heartfelt. There is something wonderful that happens when you open your mouth and sing out loud. It's a special kind of magic. It goes deep into the soul and touches portions of your heart that are dead and cold. The words, the music, the offering of surrender in the form of song, all work together in harmony to bring healing and, amazingly, joy. And oh the best part, it helps you sense God’s presence. No wonder the psalmists and songwriters of old always sang battle songs and worship songs.
Since that day I have enjoyed singing more than I ever did before. One song especially, a fairly well-known one written by Brian Johnson, Jonathan David Helser, and Joel Case called “No Longer Slaves”.
You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God...
This became my anthem. Every time I’d feel low, I’d sing this out loud, even on the toughest days. Because I realise that tough days don’t change Truth.
If you have the time, I’d recommend that you watch the story behind the song as well.
I hope that you would be willing to sing out loud too and offer sacrifices of praise to the Lord this year!
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