This song isn’t specific to Overcomers; we sing it in church too. It’s actually very popular, and I’ll include it here because it goes with the ‘King’ theme.
Overcomers usually met every week at the church I went to, but for a few years, we had an annual weekend away. The group-leaders invited friends from their church in Scotland and its affiliate churches in England and Wales. There would have been around thirty of us, half I knew and half I didn’t. We’d go to a basic retreat centre – shared rooms; no en suite; nothing like the places I’d stay in nowadays. Now when I go on holiday, I like to have a room of my own because it’s nice to just take some time out if things feel too much, but there was none of that. As a blind person, everything was unfamiliar and if I needed anything, I had to ask. It was unsettling and going to the conferences made me very nervous, but I still went because sometimes in the meetings, you could really feel God’s presence. I knew they were special times and I didn’t want to miss out.
At one of these conferences, we sang this song and afterwards, it went very quiet. The Scotsman who was leading the meeting had been inspired. I remember him calling another man up to the front of the room, and dictating some lyrics as he typed into the laptop. The atmosphere was electric, and I listened closely as he rewrote the first half of the chorus. The original chorus starts:
Hear heaven’s voices sing;
Their thunderous anthem rings
Through emerald courts, and sapphire skies,
Their praises rise.
His extra chorus, which we immediately sang, went like this:
And now our voices sing;
Our grateful anthem rings
Through earthly courts, and clouded skies,
Our praises rise.
I liked that. We may not have reached the splendour of the heavenly city yet, but even where we are, our praise can still go up to God. Maybe it means more to Him because our circumstances are less than ideal. I’m not sure the extra chorus is still sung anywhere, but I hope it is.
This is a song that always comes into my head after I read John 6:66-69. Jesus had just said some things that were difficult for His followers to wrap their heads around. Some walked away and no longer followed Him, but Peter said: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”, as quoted in this song:
You have the words of eternal life;
You are Jesus Christ the Lord.
The word that comes to mind for this song is affirmation. Please don’t misunderstand me; I know that as Christians we’re Christ’s ambassadors, so it matters greatly what people think of Jesus when they look at us and the way we live our lives, but it doesn’t really matter what people think of us. When we sing: I’m forgiven; I’m accepted; Your Spirit is within me … we’re singing truth over ourselves. Those things won’t change, whatever other people think.
We’re going to have a royal few days now, starting with Matthew Ward’s “To the King”. The words to this are really lovely.
I’ll be honest. This song is one I struggle to sing in full:
I will bless the Lord forever,
I will trust Him at all times;
He has delivered me from all fear,
He has set my feet upon a rock.
Anyone who read about the concerns I had before I went to South Africa will know that I’m fearful at times, so I don’t have a problem singing He can, instead of He has. Sometimes I fear; sometimes I fall short of living the way God wants me to. That’s not an excuse so I can continue to do wrong; it’s just a fact.
Romans 3:23-27 talks about how we all fall short of God’s glorious standard, but that’s where Jesus comes in. We can own up when we fall short, ask for His forgiveness, and allow God to make us more like Him. Then we can boast about our ever-present help in time of need.
One Sunday, as I waited at church for the meeting to start, someone walked in singing this song. There was no music playing, so it wasn’t perfectly in tune, but she was enjoying it so much. I wouldn’t be surprised if God got more pleasure from her effort than anything else we sang that day.
Here’s a song that seems to follow on nicely from yesterday’s, because this talks about mercy too:
Let the pain and the sorrow be washed away
In the waves of His mercy, as deep cries out to deep.
If you wonder about that, deep calling out to deep, it’s in Psalm 42:7: “Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls”. I read recently that it has been phrased like this: “My deep need calls out to the deep kindness of Your love”.
The message of this song is that if you’re weak, if you’re feeling dry and in need of some refreshing water, you can come to the waves of God’s mercy. His deep kindness will meet your every need.
In a previous post, I said a Scotsman changed the words to a song. He did the same with this one. The original words are:
Like a rose trampled on the ground, You took the fall
And thought of me, above all.
This man thought it was irreverent to say Jesus thought of me, so it became ‘Rose again, above all’. At the time we just sang it without question, but having listened to it since, I can’t bring myself to change the lyric. John 3:16 says God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so the fact that Jesus took the fall with me in mind? Surely that’s the whole point of the song. If I was altering the words at all, I might say ‘Thought of us’, but I think I like it as it stands.