Songs in the Night

Psalm 77:6

Ultimately, a “night season” will come to each life. It is easy to sing in the sunshine when life flows along like a song. But at night the song must emerge from the shadows and come from the melody that the Lord puts within one’s life.

But the night has its songs as well. The song of the nightingale is sweeter because it comes in the stillness of the night. The noises of the day are hushed and her notes float as sweet music through the night air.

God is the great Composer of the night songs. When darkness overtakes us, God gives a song. The Psalmist testified, “At night His song is with me” (42:8), and “I remembered my songs in the night” (77:6). In the midst of a crisis in Israel, God promised His people, “You shall have a song as in the night” (Isaiah 30:29 NKJV). Out of the tragic story of Job’s trials comes the radiant truth that “God… gives songs in the night” (Job 35:10). Sorrow becomes the expositor of the mysteries of God that joy leaves unexplained.

This radiant truth has been confirmed in the experience of innumerable people who, when going through the dark valleys, have been encouraged and sustained by the song God gave to them. Many of our best-loved hymns were forged in the crucible of sorrow and suffering. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” was written by the young Joseph Scriven when not long before his wedding day his fiancee was drowned. Fanny Crosby was blind and yet wrote over 6,000 hymns, many of them among all-time favorites.

In 1871 the ship Ville du Havre, halfway across the Atlantic, was rammed by a sailing vessel and cut in two. Mrs. Spafford saw her four daughters swept away to their deaths. When she and a few other survivors reached Wales, she cabled two words to her husband: “Saved alone.”

Taking the earliest ship, he hastened to his wife’s side, all the ache of his heart going out to her and to his Father God. When his boat reached the approximate spot where the Ville du Havre had met with disaster, God gave him the inspiration and courage to write the hymn that affirms: When sorrows like sea billows roll,/Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say:/It is well, it is well with my soul.

There is a grace and strength from God that is not given in the everyday routine of life. But when trials come upon us, we may know His added grace, His increased strength, and His multiplied peace.

Henry Gariepy, Songs in the Night

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