By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land? (Psalm 137:1-3)
People plummet down the depths of despair when tragedies occur; a world without hope, scraping for answers to the why of evil. Christians get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions as well. Occasionally we too get blindsided by the fiery darts of the enemy.
When the dust settles and the shock wears off, we scramble to anchor ourselves in God’s peace and comfort. Yet, we hear the echoes of travailing souls stuck in pits of darkness, grasping at straws. Then they look to us.
We’re barely surfacing from the deep-sea of heartache and the world asks us for a song. How on earth are we supposed to sing when the wounds still sting? And why are they asking us to sing?
When the children of Israel were taken captive and exiled in Babylon, their captors asked of them the same thing. They asked them to sing songs of Zion and required of them mirth. Whether their intent was to taunt or satisfy their curiosity, the motive behind their request is unknown.
Regardless of the motive, it would be safe to assume that the Israelites refused to sing. How could they sing and betray their sadness? How could they sing songs and forget their desolated temple and city? It was simply inharmonious to do so. They had hung their harps on the willows by the rivers of Babylon and had no intention of picking them up.
There’s no doubt that we will continue to be eyewitnesses to the pandemonium of the forces of darkness upon the earth. We can expect the worldly system to despise us, to ridicule us, and to attempt to carry us captive into its deviant beliefs, culture and lifestyles. Yet, we’re reminded that we are in this world but not of this world.
Despite their animosity toward us, during times of crises, the world will look to us for hope. Why? Because they have no personal memories of God’s goodness. They’ve wandered far from God. Barren trees grow by the rivers of Babylon. They offer no sustenance or assurance to its people. We, on the other hand, should have reservoirs of God’s faithfulness tucked away in our spirit’s memory closet, spilling with garments of praise of varied colors and textures.
The world will ask us to sing because they know we carry hope deep within. Will we hang our harps on the weeping willows or sing songs of deliverance to a world caught in the throes of deception and pain?