In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1: 1-2)
Life can consume us with our schedules, our occupations and even our hobbies. We can become so busy doing so much we can forget why we do what we do. Sometimes the rhythm and reasons of life can fade away in darkness.
Life can become “formless and empty.”
There can also be those days that “darkness” hangs over us. We long to see a sunny day. We dream of a time when the sky is blue and the warmth of the day is made ever so pleasant with a gentle, soft, breeze.
When I pastored in Manning, South Carolina several years ago I came to know a gentlemen who owned a local restaurant. He did not attend the church I pastored but we became good friends. One day while visiting in his establishment, he came to my table and gave me a gift. It was the oldest hymnal I had ever seen. The title on the hymnal – The Baptist Psalmody, A Selection of Hymns for the Worship of God, by Basil Manly and B. Manly, Jr. This hymn book was published in 1852.
This hymnal was also written during a time in our country in which evil was spreading. Not long after the publication of this hymn the United States would be introduced to chaos and a disruption that had not been seen since the birth of the country. The Civil War would begin on April 12, 1861. Who would have ever thought that the citizens of our country would go to war against one another.
Music and poetry can help us during times of hardship, fear, and empty darkness. In the Baptist Psalmody I have found many poetic and encouraging words. Here is a song I found in that old hymnal that speaks of the assurance we can find when we know that God is in control.
Eternal Joys — C.M. Steele
O, let our thoughts and wishes fly
Above these gloomy shades,
To those bright worlds beyond the sky,
Which sorrow ne’er invades!
There, joys unseen by mortal eyes,
Or reason’s feeble ray,
In ever-blooming prospect rise,
Exposed to no decay.
Lord send a beam of light divine
To guide our upward aim;
With one reviving look of thine
Our languid hearts inflame.
O, then on faith’s sublimest wing,
Our ardent souls shall rise
To those bright scenes where pleasures spring
Immortal in the skies.
God is the Creator of “bright scenes.” So as we pray today, let us ask God to “send a beam of light divine” throughout our world as it struggles with this coronavirus.