Have you ever heard a symphony orchestra warming up just before a show? The sound of chaos and discord echo throughout the auditorium as the musicians loudly tune their instruments all at the same time. Sounds of disorder fill the air until the conductor stands up and silences the room; then he proceeds to lead them into a song in perfect harmony.
This is a lot like the bedtime routine at our house. We are a four-part ensemble. From the time we say, “Get in the bathtub,” till the moment we turn off the lights, it is pure pandemonium. I’m also the conductor directing this whole fiasco as I lift up and tap my baton on the kitchen counter: “Bath time. Brush your teeth. Put your pajamas on. Take your vitamins.”
And then the bedroom shenanigans begin. We find Justus, my little percussionist, beating on everything in sight, swinging from the rails of his bunk bed, while shouting songs in a low operatic-like voice. Then there’s Jessie, my two-year old who knows she’s funny and cute and suspects the crowd is always watching her, so she shows off, jumping from the bed to the ground, rolling back and forth across the floor, and laughing hysterically at herself. You would think I’d compare her sound to that of a delicate flutist but no, she is more like a trombone: her laugh more a deep cackle than a giggle. Sometimes Jeremy and I just stare at each other with wide eyes and whisper, “It’s so loud in here.”
After reading four books (at least one in an Irish accent), prayer time, one full-length Bible story reenactment, and an interpretive dance from Daddy, they think about winding down. Then the lights go out, they crawl into bed, and the songs begin. It’s a beautiful moment, the silence after the chaotic warm-up, when the string section in my heart begins to play, and I serenade them with my songs. I love to sing over my kids at bedtime because I see what it does for them. It quiets them. It calms them. It puts them at rest.
Of all the amazing things that I’ve ever discovered about God, one of my favorites is that He sings. He is not only a recipient of our worship and our singing, He Himself sings over us! Zephaniah 3:17 in the World English Bible says, “Yahweh, your God, is among you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing” (emphasis mine).
As a songwriter, I’ve found that you can’t just sit down and crank out a hit song from your head. A good song has to come straight from the heart. What makes a song great is not only the words and the melodies but the heart behind the words. Every song that God sings over us comes straight from His heart, and we not only need to hear His Word, but we need to sense His love that burns for us in His Word. God’s songs are not depressing or lackluster, but they are like a wildfire-burning love that is hard to extinguish—spreading swiftly across the surface of our lives. His voice is sweet to the hearer, and His sound brings rest to the soul. God’s songs will never drag you down but always fuel your faith. They will never wear you out or sound like defeat. When Jesus sings, you will always hear a tone of triumph and victory in His voice.
During a time that my mom was standing in faith and believing for her healing, she said every morning she would wake up with a new song playing over and over in her head. After about a week of this, she realized that it wasn’t just her subconscious looping a song she had heard the day before on the radio. These songs were not coming out of nowhere; they were coming from somewhere or better yet Someone. They were coming up from her spirit to help her overcome. When she told me this story, I remembered that scripture from Zephaniah, and I could see in the Spirit what was happening: God Himself was singing over her, and she was hearing His song! He was singing songs of healing and deliverance over her.
A really good love song doesn’t just say I love you; it communicates a message from the heart. God was not only trying to sing a sweet love song over her, He was trying to get a message of healing to her. If she would just take His song and make it her own, things would begin to change.
I am fully convinced that you can sing sickness away. Singing is God’s sedative for the soul and an expression of faith from the spirit. God loves music, but it’s not just because it is fun to listen to or a good opening act before the Word is preached in a service. He loves it because He knows music can bring healing, and His presence is medicine. God designed music to help us receive everything He came to give.
I heard a true story that a father told about his little girl who was diagnosed with a severe digestive disease—severe to the point that the doctors were giving her little hope and no time to live. Most days she could hardly eat without having to rush to the bathroom in pain, and certainly she could eat nothing fun like cookies or cake. She seemed to get worse and worse day after day. Her parents took her to a meeting at a church, and at the end of the service, the minister called people up to receive prayer for healing. She went up and by faith took her healing that night. When she returned to her seat, she looked up and said, “Daddy, if I’m healed, then that means I can eat a cookie tonight, right?”
Her father admitted fighting feelings of fear as he thought about what she would potentially go through if she ate even one cookie. But for some reason, he knew that he could not tell her no because it would discourage her and tear down her simple faith in God as her healer. She was so excited about being healed that she believed she could eat a cookie without it affecting her. That night she still had pain and symptoms after she ate her cookie, but that was soon to change. For a long while, every night before bed, her parents would hear her in her room all by herself singing at the top of her lungs, “I’M HEALED, I’M HEALED, AND I CAN EAT COOKIES NOW! I’M HEALED, I’M HEALED, AND I CAN EAT COOKIES NOW!”
Time went on, and everyone noticed that she was gradually getting better and better. And then the little girl who was never supposed to grow up and live out her life did. On her wedding day, before she was about to walk down the aisle, she had a conversation with her father about her miracle healing as a little girl. She said, “Daddy, I never told you why I sang that song. Every night before bed, I would see angels in my room, and they would lead me in that song that went, ‘I’m healed. I’m healed, and I can eat cookies now.’”
As a parent, it is so satisfying to hear your child singing a song they first heard you sing over them. Sometimes I hear my Justus in his room playing with his toy airplanes, singing to himself:
Arise, arise my soul and sing,
Remember all the greater things
That He has done, what’s yet to come!
Arise, arise my soul and sing,
Give glory to the Risen King
With hands held high, heart open wide,
Oh my soul arise!
Then there’s Jessie, remember, who’s only two. I catch her singing songs like,
I got peace like da riva,
I got peace like da riva,
I got peace like da river in my soul!
God is thrilled when we take His songs and make them our own. He knows the power of a song sung in faith because we sing from the same place we believe from. The heart is where we love from, believe from, and sing from. Faith is of the heart! Romans 10:9-10, the great salvation chapter, says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Your song may just be one of your greatest expressions of faith when it comes from the heart and when you sing it out loud. When we take His words and put them in our mouths, the fire ignites.
Our lives should be full of music. Colossians 3:16 nlt says, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Even if you don’t consider yourself a singer, you should always have a song in your heart and praise on your lips. The instrument of the worshipper is not the guitar, piano, voice, or drums. The instrument of the worshipper is the heart.
I grew up singing all the time—in church, at school, and around the dinner table with my family. There is nothing like family harmonies. My brothers and I have been singing together for as long as I can remember. We all minister in music on our own, but even today when we get together and start singing, something beautiful happens. God didn’t just leave you out there on this stage called “life,” requiring you to perform on your own, without a backup. He longs to partner with you in praise. You were never meant to be a solo singer; you were meant to sing harmonies with Him!
So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night and a song comes to your mind, don’t be quick to dismiss it. See your Father strumming the strings of your heart, and hear Him serenading you with His songs of salvation. When you stare at Scripture, hear His love song to you. When you hear Him singing, don’t just listen; join in the chorus. Life and death are in the power of your tongue. Find your harmony part and SING with Him! Then wait on Him in the secret place of His presence, and watch and listen as He surrounds you “with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).