As many of you know, my family loves music! We almost always have music playing in the car and at home, and if we don’t, one of us is undoubtedly humming or dancing to a song in our head! Confession: There has been more than one time where I have been caught unashamedly singing at the top of my lungs in the car… and by the same person no less! One time, all four of us were jamming to a song in the car – Mac was playing the air guitar, Gwen was playing the drums, and I, well, I was playing the air-violin. It’s totally a thing. And I’m basically an air-violin playing professional. Seth had the music turned up full blast, we pulled up to a red light and in the midst of my most epic air-violin performance I hear someone yelling, “Get it girl!” “Yeah! You go!” I look over and the ladies in the car next to me are laughing their heads off as they watched our impromptu concert! What could we do but smile and ask them if they wanted to jam with us? That was a red light I didn’t mind sitting at!
The last few months one of my favorite songs that I’ve had on repeat over and over is the song “So Will I.” If you have a minute, I strongly encourage you to listen to the song and read the lyrics. This song convicts me on many different levels. Levels that challenge me to stretch my faith, grow my faith, declare my faith, proclaim my God, praise my God, and worship my God at all times, in every circumstance, no matter what. When the world looks at me, do they see Jerri-Lynne McDonald shouting, whispering, living, and believing: “You’re the One who never leaves the One behind,”?
Different parts of this song remind me of different blessings in my life. All of these blessings, reflect the heart of our God: “I can see Your heart, Eight billion different ways, Every precious one, A child You died to save…Like You would again a hundred billion times…You’re the One who never leaves the one behind.” There has been another song on repeat in this house. It’s called “Raise A Hallelujah” and nothing will make Seth, Mac, and Gwen burst out into song as quickly as hearing this song begin playing. (I love it. It makes my heart melty. You can’t listen to this song without wanting to worship God with everything that you have and are. All that you are).
If the stars were made to worship so will I - Sing a little louder (In the presence of my enemies)
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I – Sing a little louder (Louder than the unbelief)
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I – Sing a little louder (My weapon is a melody)
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I – Sing a little louder (Heaven comes to fight for me)
If the wind goes where You send it so will I – Sing a little louder (In the presence of my enemies)
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I – Sing a little louder (Louder than the unbelief)
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy – Sing a little louder (My weapon is a melody)
(Lyrics are from “So Will I” written by Joel Houston / Benjamin Hastings / Michael Fatkin and “Raise a Hallelujah” written by Jonathan David Helser / Melissa Helser / Molly Skaggs / Jake Stevens)
Take a listen here:
The King is Alive! Sing a little louder…and so will I!
Read: Acts 16:25-33
Consider: When I think of Paul and Silas in a cold and dark prison, I can’t help but think of the hymn “Where He Leads Me” by Ernest Blandy. One of the lines of the hymn says, “I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.” It is a song that many churches sing at the closing of a sermon, an invitation to the congregation to surrender their will to Christ and to follow Him. Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Throughout the Bible we get a very clear picture of what denying self looks like, and often it is not even remotely a comfortable experience (examples: Daniel, Jonathan, Paul, Stephen and Ruth). But in those lives and those actions, we see the power of God displayed in a way that makes those on the outside looking in, want to know about the God who never leaves one of His own behind. Matthew 28:20b, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Paul and Silas singing and praying while imprisoned must have made a lasting impression to all who heard of their faith and trust in their God. I believe that their attitude in their poor circumstances pointed to a contentment that eludes many who “have it all.” I can imagine that when they sang and prayed to God that He was right there with them and that they could feel His presence. Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Truly, our faith-walk speaks volumes when we are journeying through the difficult parts of life and are still able to claim the goodness and faithfulness of God. (In all honesty, when we are in the valley it is at those times that the believer truly learns to walk on their faith legs and experience a closeness to Christ like never before).
But why didn’t Paul and Silas escape when they had the chance?!
Paul and Silas were called to be different. (Hey Christian, so are you!) Do you think Paul and Silas would have lost some impact to their testimony if they chose to escape? I mean, if they preached one thing and did another, it would make them no different than those who did not believe. I also believe that they trusted God’s heart and chose to obey Him even when the outlook seemed grim. Proverbs 3:5-7, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
That night the jailer witnessed two men live their faith in a compelling way. I think the jailer knew what he would have done had the roles been reversed and he would not have stuck around. Maybe the jailer realized for the first time just how little control he really had and how life can completely change in an instant. The jailer realized his need for something bigger and greater than himself. Thinking you have lost it all and then being given a second chance isn’t something that happens every day, the jailer recognized this and saw God at work in the ruins of the prison that held God’s men. The next step after recognizing one’s need for salvation is to accept God’s gift of salvation. I’m sure Paul and Silas eagerly shared what God had done in their lives with the jailer and his family. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Whatever our circumstances, may we choose to Raise A Hallelujah like Paul and Silas in a way that brings glory to our Creator!
To-Do: What song encourages you in your faith walk? How do you choose to sing a little louder for God today?