Be Careful What We Sing at Church
The tempo was upbeat and the song was inviting. Though new to me, I picked it up quickly. On the third time through the chorus, I started really contemplating the words—and I stopped singing.
Really, I did—right in midsentence. The words were wrong.
Though it’s technically illegal for me to quote song lyrics (and I don’t want to out an accomplished songwriter), the gist was that when things go bad, God will immediately rescue us.
I don’t see that happen very often in the Bible. Usually, God waits. I don’t often experience instant resolutions in my own life, either. Usually, he says to be patient. Yes, God provides, and he does answer my prayers, but he does it in his own way and in his own time. Seldom are the heavy things resolved immediately.
The song paints the expectation of instant gratification. Though appealing to modern society, it’s a bad way to understand God. The song should have said that when things go bad, we need to be patient; in the end, God will come through. That’s good teaching.
My concern is for people who base their understanding of God from the songs we sing in church. If they believe he will always immediately rescue them, as the song says, will their faith suffer a crisis when their experience is different? When God tarries, as he sometimes does, will they give up on God and walk away?
I hope not, but I fear so.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.