Thanksgiving is a happy occasion, a time to recognize the many blessings in our lives and spend time with family. For me this one is different, and I have a slightly different perspective on the holiday amid personal tragedy. I shared a little about this during the Dover community Thanksgiving service hosted at Salem UCC where I serve as Music Director. I asked my Pastor if I could include a song for special music that was a bit different, and she graciously accommodated my request. The song I chose was “Out of The Depths” by Bob Kauflin from the Sovereign Grace Music “Psalms” album which is based on Psalm 130. An unusual choice for sure, but I had my reasons which I shared in a short testimony prior to singing the song. Here is roughly what I had to say (with some improvised minor chord progressions underneath for effect of course):
So it’s Thanksgiving, and you may be wondering why I would choose a song called “Out of the Depths” for a Thanksgiving service.
Well, the thing is while we know we should always give thanks with a grateful heart, there are times in life when, because of our circumstances, if we’re really honest deep down we simply don’t feel like it.
It could be trouble at home, a sickness, difficulties at work or a job loss, or maybe lost someone you love this year…more than one someone perhaps. Or maybe you feel stuck in life, not sure where you’re going or what God’s plan is for your life if there is one. The harvest time comes, but while others seem to be doing well your basket is empty of fruit.
So we have seasons of life where we find ourselves, as the psalmist writes, in a pit or a miry bog (Ps 40:1-2)…and it happens to all of us. Don’t be taken in by a false prosperity gospel that trivializes faith into just doing all the right things, being a good person, and being blessed for it. Because the truth is that whether you build your house on the rock of Christ or on sand, the wind and rain will come (Mt 7:24-27). And when it’s raining, it’s really hard to say thank you.
It’s in those times when we are crying out to God from those depths and asking why? what now? what do you want from me? … are you even there?
It’s then that we must cling to that which is eternal, God’s promise that whether in summer or in winter, through every trial and loss, He will never leave us or forsake us. And while the answer at first might be wait, He always hears our prayer. And whether we are on the mountain top or the deepest valleys in life, our hope is in the cross of Christ and not of this world, and that is something we can be truly grateful for.
Here is a a sample from one of my practice recordings (note the quality is not great):
Full lyrics and real song sample available here.
This idea of waiting on God has been on my mind for awhile, waiting for an answer a direction, anything. I’ve been in a similar place before, and eventually there was an answer which gives me hope even though it’s painful in the meantime. I also looked through the Psalms and found a few examples that talk about waiting that are helpful:
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!
But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.