Text: Psalm 31:1-24, Psalm 34:18, Psalm 56:8
“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.”
- Psalm 34:18, The Message
I don’t know if you’ve ever lived with someone who was learning to play a musical instrument, but if you have, I bet you know about a glorious little piece of metal called a mute.
Growing up, my younger brother played every instrument he could get his hands on—the trumpet, guitar, piano, ukulele and, unfortunately, the bagpipes. I loved being part of a musical family. I didn’t love being part of a we’re-learning-to-be-musical family.
“Can’t you find a mute for that thing?” was my most frequented phrase, hoping for a silenced version of “Hot Cross Buns.”
One day, my brother came home with a new piece of music in hand. The composer’s note at the top read, “Play muted, with sorrow.”
He began playing the song on his trumpet, and I braced myself for sweet relief as he transitioned into the “sorrow” section. Much to my dismay and delight, I learned that the mute did not silence the sound, it just changed it. The piercing, shrill signature of the instrument was replaced by a deliciously pleasing sound. The sound emerging from the horn was unlike anything that could be produced by the trumpet alone.
Sometimes, I feel like God is asking me to put a mute on my feelings. When His Word says to be thankful in every situation, I find myself thinking, Even in this? In grief, in fear, in sorrow? You can’t possibly mean in this.
It’s easy to forget that all songs of thanksgiving don’t have the same sound. I don’t know exactly what musical directions were given when the Psalms were played as songs, but I can guess that many of them were instructed to be played “with sorrow.”
God doesn’t ask us to silence our sorrow in favor of thanksgiving. Rather, He uses our sorrow to proclaim a type of thanksgiving we wouldn’t be able to express otherwise.
Just like the trumpet’s song wasn’t any less a melody because of its change in pitch, your sorrow isn’t any less a sound of thanksgiving than your highest shouts of joy.
Extracted from all earthly attachments, void of trimmings and trumpets sounding, sorrow is a connection to Christ and our need for Him in its purest form. And, Sister, the world needs to hear that.
You’ve sized up your grief of what was lost, what should be, or what will never be, and felt the sharp pangs of this fallen world. You’ve avoided playing a thanksgiving song because it won’t sound the same as before. But by doing so, you’re withholding one of the most precious tunes the world has ever heard—the tune of Glory.
Thanksgiving doesn’t devour your sorrow, but it acknowledges the Glory that will.
The thanks be to Him who says our sorrows will be worth it.
The giving of our souls to say that, even if our earthly hopes have been deferred, our eternal hope will never be lost.
When you think you’ll never again be able to sing a song of thanksgiving, try it anyway. Our hearts may not be comfortable praising tragedy, loss, or bad days, but our hearts were created to praise the Hope of Glory.
Allow Him to work in your sorrow, friends. Even—and especially—if it’s muted.
Kaitlin Wernet is a Carolina girl who now plants her feet in Tennessee as the Community Coordinator for She Reads Truth. Each day, she excitedly celebrates grace with her SRT sisters while attempting to tame her curly hair and avoid parallel parking.