Part 2 here
One of the wisest men ever, second only to Solomon, was Ethan the Ezrahite, briefly mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31. We don’t know much else about him, but he did write Psalm 89, which begins like many worship songs we sing in church today do:
“I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.”
Psalms 89:1-2 NLT
But as the psalm is building up to its climax, Ethan expresses what so many of us have in our hearts when the lyrics don’t match. Here instead are the lyrics of our desperation, our weeping, even our doubts:
“O Lord, how long will this go on?
Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your anger burn like fire?
Remember how short my life is, how empty and futile this human existence!
No one can live forever; all will die.
No one can escape the power of the grave. (Interlude)
Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge.”
Psalms 89:46-49 NLT
So maybe it’s okay then to express these feelings like Ethan did. Or like David did in Psalm 13 (see previous post). If some of the greatest men could express their pain and doubts aloud to God, even have those words recorded for eternity in the Bible, it’s okay for you and me to feel disconnected when we sing. It’s not that we must be forced to alter our feelings. God validates our feelings without condemning us, because He is much greater than our doubts and fears. He knows we are merely humans with limited scope, so he knows how fragile our faith can be.
And he knows how strong our feelings can be. But we don’t have to let our feelings alter how we choose to live. Look how Ethan chose to finish his psalm:
“Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced! I carry in my heart the insults of so many people.
Your enemies have mocked me, O Lord; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes.
Praise the Lord forever! Amen and amen!”
Psalms 89:50-52 NLT
And look at how David finished Psalm 13:
“But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.”
Psalms 13:5-6 NLT
So back to that Scripture I saw at that church:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 NET
I see then that faith is a choice, not a feeling. Faith is being convinced God is in control of our outcomes and welfare. Faith is being convinced God loves us more than our doubts scare us. Faith is being convinced that even when the lyrics on the screen or hymn book don’t match with our feelings, we make the choice to sing to Him praises anyway. Because we hope for that good outcome He promised, and through perseverance, we grow more solidly sure of that hope.