Every Tuesday morning I prepare for our weekly worship rehearsal which we have on Tuesday nights. I think through our arrangements, our prayer time before rehearsal, the lyrics and flow of the songs, etc.
This morning I was once again struck by the amazing lyrics of the hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” which we are singing this week. Pastor and Professor Henry Van Dyke wrote this hymn in 1907 and set the lyrics to Beethoven’s “Hymn of Joy.” Here were a few things that struck me today:
1) In the first verse, there’s a line that is a prayer which says, “Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away.” I can nearly always sing this line with an honest heart. I’ve sang this in seasons of depression and meant it. I’ve sang this on mornings in which I woke up full of joy and praising the Lord, but for some reason by the time I got to church, I had let a seed of doubt or fear bother me. Either way, I can sing this prayer honestly before God to drive away every doubt and melt any cloud of sin and sadness hanging over me.
2) Verse two speaks of God’s creation and calls us to worship Him in joy as the mighty creator. In the middle of the verse it points to Jesus as the “center of unbroken praise.” Wow! What a great reminder that worship at God’s throne is happening twenty-four-seven for all of eternity.
3) The fourth verse closes in saying, “Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife; joyful music lifts us sunward, in the triumph song of life.” After praying in the first verse to drive sadness, sin, and doubt away, our spirits are lifted and then this line encourages us to press on in the power of Christ’s victory. I love how it eludes to the fact that joyful music can draw our hearts towards Christ – how true that is! Joyful songs with Christ-centered lyrics (like this one) can draw us to Him and encourage our hearts to keep going.
This song always invites me to leave my doubts and darkness with Jesus, and once again, receive and walk in the joy and victory that is mine in Christ. The reminder of Christ’s power that this song offers to me usually results in me walking away closer to Him after singing it. I hope Jesus uses it powerfully in your life as well.