The Casting Out of Fear
The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. (Psalm 28:7) In the southern parts of Ireland, there is a bird of the thrush family called, “The Storm Thrush”. This little bird is named after its peculiar love of storms. When a storm ascends upon its territory, it takes flight to the highest point of a tree and there perched out upon the flailing limb, it begins to sing. In the heart of the fiercest winds, hail and thunder, with branch swaying it pours out its soul in song. Its perch may be frail, but the sweet refrain of its music is undeniably strong, without apology and with the absence of fear. The Storm Thrush anticipates and even yearns for the clouds to congregate and clap together with the darkness of dew knowing that each storm has its unique song; a song that must be sung. How altogether perplexing to hear the mingling of the thunder with the voice of praise! It’s a bit of a paradox to the world watching. Wrapped up in the heart of this little bird is a praise that the storm cannot drown out.
A praise offered up in the warmth of the days of sunshine and peaceful moments are beautiful and pleasing, no doubt to God our Heavenly Father. But, take a heart that’s been wind swept, battered, crushed and bewildered and give it a platform upon which to sing a song of praise, no doubt, God is smitten. He is drawn to this song; to the soul ignited with a praise that is sacrificial. When the singer of praise is a soul in difficulty, its life becomes an instrument of rare and undeniable power; a power that refuses to be silent in the darkness and rises to the highest limb of perch though the gales are torrentially destructive. The great Apostle penned these words to God’s suffering people, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27). When a heart has taken Christ as its captive, a symphony stands ready to raise an anthem of undying tribute to God un-swayed by outward circumstances. This song resounds from a soul that has found its anchorage in the Lord; who is immoveable. The Lord is never moved, never swayed, absolutely never without hope and resilient against any demonstrative forces that assail the heart of His child. It’s the acknowledgment of His presence and Who He is that imparts the song of praise and hope of heart.
Praise is costly. Listen to the words of Hebrews 13:5, “…Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Praise is considered a sacrifice; an offering and where there is an offering, there has to be an altar upon which to give it. Praise ascends from an altar of sacrifice and our altars might just be out on a limb in the middle of a storm. Whatever form your altar takes, when praise is offered, it becomes a treasure before a Holy God. It strengthens a heart even when it’s sick and wanting. Are you in a storm? Is your heart in a trying situation that has engulfed your heart in fear? Have the dreads and concerns of life left your altar desolate of an offering of praise? Has the fierceness of the storm and devastations of loss left the world in silence, waiting to hear a sound a hope emerge from the ruins of pain?
There are some songs only the soul that has known pain can sing; it’s a right that has been earned to join the choir of resilience. Hear the words of the Psalmist. “The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.” (Psalm 42:8) His life song was the song that he learned in the night. Praise lifts the hopelessness of our situations and ushers in the presence of the One Who is hope. It empowers us to stay the course no matter what comes, and to face the day even when there is no ray of change upon the horizon.
What is your life song? Does the world hear the sound of hope emerging from the ruins around them? God might just bring a storm to get you to sing! God writes His greatest hits in the midnight hours. Your song in the darkness of trial will bring light to the soul of another who has lost its way in the night. What do you do when the storm comes? Find the highest perch you can find and there, winds assailing and thunder raging about you, dig in deep and pour out your soul in song. There are those storms that shake our nest so violently to teach us to fly, but then there are those storms that utterly destroy our nest to teach us to sing.