Our home church has been going through a preaching series on suffering and the sovereignty of God. Before the series began, Pastor Peter and the rest of the worship leaders agreed that the congregational songs during this time needed to help the church to worship and praise God amidst trials and sufferings, in a practical and accessible way.
We’re thankful to a range of gifted songwriters and musicians over the ages who have crafted songs to help the gathered church suffer well. Here are a few we’ve used at HBC over the past few months:
All is Well (Robin Mark) – “He clothes us now then strips us, Yet with his Word equips us, whatever is His way all is well…” One of our worship leaders introduced this just yesterday, and the church picked it up straight away.
Blessed Be Your Name (Matt Redman) – A contemporary favourite. The bridge goes: “You give and take away | My heart will choose to say | Lord blessed be your name”.
Every Day (Sovereign Grace Music) – This one is from their “Come Weary Saints” CD. The chorus explicitly has the congregation sing out: “Thank you for the trials, for the fire, for the pain” – not a common feature in worship music today! For me this line is a great reminder of 1 Peter 1:6-7, where believers are encouraged to rejoice in their trials, “so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes through it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory an honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Great is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas Chisholm) – It’s more stirring when you know the hymn takes its refrain from Lamentations 3:22-23, where the prophet Jeremiah expresses hope in God’s faithfulness amidst the immense anguish of seeing Jerusalem being invaded and conquered by the Babylonian armies (if you know your Bible, God proves His faithfulness and eventually does restore the nation of Israel).
It is Well with my Soul (Horatio Spafford) – Another great hymn that underscores our security in Christ. You can read about the writer’s life and trials here – I’ve also recorded an arrangement of it myself.
This is just a small sampling – other songs we haven’t tried yet that I can think of include “When Trials Come” (Getty/Townend), “Whatever My God Ordains Is Right” (Mark Altrogge), “I Need Thee Ev’ry Hour” (Annie Hawks), “Be Still My Soul” (Katharina von Schlegel), and so on.
Would you add any suggestions to this list? What psalms, hymns and spiritual songs have helped to sustain you during your trials?