The second helps to carry out the first. It is this, thankful for anything.
Thanksgiving and praise are always associated with singing. When you feel the worry mood creeping on -- it is a mood that attacks you -- when it comes sing something, especially something with Jesus' name in it. These temptations to worry are from the Evil One. He can come in only through an open
door. Remember that. Yet the open doors seem plenty. Even when we trustingly and resolutely keep every door of evil shut the circle in which we move will open doors upon us. Singing something with Jesus' name in it sends him or any of his brood off quickly. They hate that Name of their Conqueror. They get away from the sound of it as fast as they can.
A friend was calling upon another and began pouring out a stream of personal woes. This had gone wrong, and this, and this other would go wrong. Everything was wrong. And her friend, who knew her quite well, had her get a pencil and paper and asked her if possibly there was one thing for which she could be thankful. Reluctantly from her lips came the mention of some particular thing for which she felt indeed grateful. Then a second was gradually recalled, and then more. And as the train of thought grew on her she suddenly asked, |Why was I so despondent when I came in? Everything seems so changed.|
It's a fine thing to go about one's work singing some hymn with praise in it, and with Jesus' name in it. And if singing may not always be allowable under all circumstances, you can hum a tune. And that brings up to the memory the words connected with it. I know of a woman who was much given to worrying. She made it a rule to sing the long-meter doxology whenever things seemed not right. Ofttimes she could hardly get her lips shaped up to begin the first words. But she would persist. And by the time the fourth line came it was ringing out and her atmosphere had changed without and within.
This was David's rule. He said: |Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.| He is not speaking of the time when he was acknowledged king over both Judah and all Israel, when the fortress of Jerusalem was his own capital. No, he is talking of the earlier days of his pilgrimage. When he was being hunted over the Judean fastnesses by King Saul. When with his band of faithful men he was ever fleeing for his life. He slept in caves and dens or out in the open, and always with one eye open. There he used to sing God's praises. A messenger would come breathlessly in some morning with the news that Saul was just over yonder ravine with a thousand men. And as David planned what best to do, and arranged his men, he would be singing.
Maybe he would sing that Twenty-third Psalm:
|For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.|
Or, maybe sometimes,
|To Thee I lift my soul;
O Lord, I trust in Thee:
My God, let me not be ashamed
Nor foes triumph o'er me.|
Or, likely, he often sang:
|The Lord's my light and saving health;
Who shall make me dismayed?
My life's strength is the Lord; of whom
Then shall I be afraid?|
Or if perhaps Ezra wrote this psalm it takes one back to his weary, dangerous journey over from Babylon to Jerusalem and the very difficult work he was undertaking in Jerusalem in reorganizing the life of the people again. He used to sing on the way, and through all his difficulties.
It is a great rule.
|When the day is gloomy
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world's repining
With a courage strong.|
Some one asked me if whistling would do. She was a busy housewife and said that was her rule. I have gone to singing myself. But maybe whistling is just as good. I'm inclined to favor giving it a place within the range of this rule.
There's a bit of deep, simple philosophy here. Music is divine. There is no music in the headquarters of the enemy. He has used it a great deal on the earth. That's a bit of his cunning. But he always has to steal it from God's sphere, and work it over to suit his own crafty purposes. Music, singing, is an open doorway for the Spirit of God to come in, and come in anew and move freely. Its sweet harmonies found their birth in the presence of God where sweetest harmonies reign. Lovers of music should be lovers of God, for He is the one great Master-musician.
When Elisha was asked to prophesy victory for Israel over the enemy at one time, he refused. He was not in harmony with this king nor his associates. His spirit refused to respond to their request. But at their urgent request he yielded, and called for a musician. And as the strains of music fell upon his ear and entered into his spirit he felt the divine presence and influence anew. We should use the musician more in our days of battle. And God has wonderfully provided every one of us with a music-box of sweet melodies. If we would only open the lid, and let frequent use wear off the rust, and sing His praise more. In music God speaks to us anew with great power. This is the second rule, thankful for anything.