On our way to lunch yesterday, I said to our guitarist, “Janet, there was one song in this morning’s worship that I couldn’t sing.” She knew immediately what song I was referring to because she also was not singing it!

I don’t remember the title of the song. Honestly, I don’t care. The English translation was:

Take me through the fire, take me through the rain

Take me through the testing, I’ll do anything

Test me, try me, prove me, refine me

Well, I know that trials are inevitable and that these are good for my faith. The apostle Peter said, So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:7). Yes, trials are indispensable instruments in my lifelong journey toward Christlikeness. However, trials are painful. I am no masochist, and so I will not ask for pain to come my way. It’s perfectly fine if the Lord chooses some other day to test me.

My wife Dahl also did not sing the song. She whispered. “I think I have gone through so much testing already. I need a break. I will not ask for one now.” I feel the same way. I will not take the initiative in praying for trials to come. When trials come, and they will, I will ask for God’s grace to endure and to learn from them, and that I would be able to honor Christ in the process.

There were around 100 people in church yesterday. I wonder how many of them are going through testing now because they asked God to bring them through the fire?

How about you? Would you have sung that song?

Am I a wimp for refusing to sing the song? What do you think?

Image courtesy of Nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


8 thoughts on “I just couldn’t sing that song.

  1. Good food for thought. Fortunately I haven’t encountered a song like that lately. But because of your blog, I will be looking out for such a one! When I am focusing on the Lord, I find myself walking around praising Him with some of the beautiful praise songs I know. They just rise to the surface.
    Maybe if people spent more time just praising and focusing on Him, it would never occur to them to be self-focused, asking for trials.

    1. I know. There are some songs that I prefer not to sing because of their theology. In general, however, worship leaders in all churches that I visit do a great job in choosing their song lineup.

  2. Thank you for your blog post Lloyd.. we had a nice discussion after reading it. Mari suggested that it does raise the important notion that we should “be careful what we ask for” and we probably shouldn’t sing songs without wanting to understand its meaning. I remember how a friend once read and was convicted by James’ “taming the tongue” portion, so he went on a speaking fast while at work as a forklift driver (the boss didn’t appreciate it too much).
    I was interested in what inspired Misty Edwards who wrote the song, so I investigated a little bit. On an IHOP podcast, she begins by referring to an earlier section of the song……

    Awake, awake, O north wind
    Awake, awake, O south wind; blow over me
    Come, O winds of testing
    Come, winds of refreshing; blow over me

    Misty suggests that Song of Solomon 4:14 is specifically dealing with the bride (an allegory for Israel or the Church) as she reaches a pivotal moment of abandonment. She has felt the cold north winds that test (earlier chapters of the Song) and she has felt the warmer refreshing sough winds. Then the Song finishes the verse with:

    Blow on my garden,
    that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
    Let my beloved come into his garden
    and taste its choice fruits.

    In the interview Misty points out that up until this time the Bride always refers to herself as “my garden”, but here she sees all that she has as belonging to him in love by declaring it to be “his garden”. I know that Misty herself faced a big challenge when having cancer as a 19-year-old.

    As I consider this background along with your concerns, I think it’s essential we consider the words as being from one who is earnestly seeking intimacy with God. When first reading your post, I thought about Biblical precedent for asking for tribulation and none came to mind… even though I’ve heard stories of Chinese house churches praying that the West would receive persecution and be “purified” but I don’t know what to make of that. But back to intimacy, I see her exploring a love which isn’t tame but “burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame.”

    The other distinction in the topic is micro/macro. Misty says her overall theme of the CD is Revelation 22:17 “the Spirit and the Bride say come”. She’s asking the Lord to come even if it means trial and tribulation. I’ve never seen the Avengers movie, but as a childhood fan I can remember where they stand in front of the big bad guy and say, “BRING IT ON!” As I interpret Misty’s heart, she is situated in a world where tribulation isn’t an option if one wants to remain true and she is saying “BRING IT ON, LORD… Yes it’s going to be a battle and there will be casualties, but I trust in your plan.”

    In this macro sense I also consider Jesus who “set his face like flint” and headed to Jerusalem and for “the joy set before him he endured the cross and scorned its shame”. I see Misty reflecting that by not asking for an easy life. In a general macro sense I also hope to have the boldness to cry “BRING IT ON!”. In a more specific sense, I think there are many out there who read those lyrics and should just ask for the grace to make it through a current trial. However, there may be others who see lives of apathy and/or compromise and ask for the Lord to challenge them to live a more abandoned life for the sake of love.
    I do think you raised a great question (aside from watching our mouths) as to how we approach the subject of “carrying our cross” daily. Sometimes evangelicals have a passing glance of the cross on the way to the empty grave, yet sometimes it seems other traditions embrace only the broken man on the cross. Great post and I look forward to reading more…

    1. Thanks, Aaron. Your comment was longer than my post! Hahaha.

      Seriously, thanks for sharing the background of the song. It helps to know the context in which each song was written. However, I think that the average worshiper does not automatically ask what is the background of each song sung in church. He or she just sings along, especially if the melody is easy to follow. When you buy worship music CDs, you also don’t read a blurb for each song. All you have are the lyrics.

      Therefore, I want to point out the very important role of the worship leader. He or she must is responsible for guiding the people to worship with their heart, mind and soul. This responsibility involves the choice of songs. And if there are songs that appear “problematic” like the one I mentioned then the worship leader should explain the context. If the worship leader does not know the context, then it would be better to choose another song.

      Let’s talk more about this when we meet, if you want.

      1. Lloyd, you have a great point about the role of worship leaders… from the perspective that you are sharing, they really do act as pastors and have a responsibility to lead. Blessings brother..

  3. I have the same dilemma with a Hillsong song: ” Jesus I believe in You and I would go to the ends of the earth, to the ends of the earth for You”. I can sing the rest of the song loudly but when it comes to that part, its hard to mean it…we all struggle with going all out for His sake. Makes me think of all the martyrs who really did die for Him!

    1. Yes, that’s a tough one too. I am not sure what the songwriter had in mind when he/she wrote the song. Although I would think that the song kinda expresses the attitude of a Christian who is fully submissive to the Lord Jesus.

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