A Strange Land
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” - Psalm 137:4
This psalm was written in the time when the Israelites were being exiled from their land and taken into Babylonia. These soldiers were attempting to strip God's people of their familiar land, familiar life, and familiar praise. In fact, these soldiers taunted the Israelites, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion" as they marched in incredible numbers out of their land. Feeling completely stripped of their lives, they replied, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in this strange land?" They were concentrating on their surroundings. And while they unwillingly lost control of their land, they surrendered their praise.
Events in our lives may be like the Babylonians gathering the Israelites out of their own land. At times in our lives, we have events or situations that would attempt to take our land by removing us from our surroundings or stripping us of our lifestyle. The death of a spouse or child, a recent divorce, or a progressive disability are all events that alter lifestyles. We, too, may say as the Israelites, "How can I sing in this strange land?" Everything around me seems to have been taken from me. The only thing that is unable to be taken, I feel, that I am able to hold on to: my praise, my devotion, my faith.
Undoubtedly, there will be uncontrollable circumstances in life's journey. These life interruptions are demanding and require our attention. However, what we can control, our praise, let us not give up. Let us ask ourselves, when I feel stripped of all other things, what happens to my devotion to God? Do I surrender my praise? We are forever presented with opportunities to lose focus of what is priority in our lives. We must learn how to hold on to what is important. How? How do I sing the Lord's song in this strange land?
We sing the Lord's song by reflecting on the nature of God. While circumstances may consistently change around us, God, creator of heaven and earth, consistently remains the same. And if He was worthy of praise before, He still is in the midst of our present discomfort. Regardless of what's going on in our lives, God still deserves our devotion.
We don't sing because our quality of life is good, for He hasn't promised all a great life. For we know He loves the Christians in Sudan and China, just as much as He does the Christians in America. We sing because He is God. We sing because we know no other so faithful, loving and true. We sing because He is the only true, stable thing in our lives.
When all else seems to be stripped away, aim to hold on to the dearest part of our lives: our relationship with our God. Be not weary in well doing; for in due season, we will reap if we faint not (Galatians 6:9). It is from our continual relationship with our Father that we gain insight into these difficult situations. We gain peace in the time of chaos. We receive comfort from our Father. Regardless of what is going on in our lives, our faith in God and devotion cushion the bumps in the road.