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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Repeat (01/24/13)

TITLE: Music for After-Hours Distress
By Lillian Rhoades
01/30/13


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Music for After-Hours Distress

Waking up at 3:00 a.m. in the morning is never on my schedule of things to do. So the night I awoke with the words of a familiar song running wild in my head left me wondering if this sudden awakening had something to do with what had taken place the day before. Earlier that day, I’d received news that the wife of a well-known figure in the publishing world had passed away. Since everything that happens to us has a cause and an effect, I settled on the obvious cause to me – the death of a believer. That was the only plausible explanation I could give as to why this song, of all the myriad songs I knew, turned my night into an after-hours concert.

Oh, when the saints go marching in, when the saints go marching in, Lord, I want to be in the number when the saints go marching in.

Over and over, the refrain appeared to take on permanent residence.

As I lay in the darkness, the words to the song did not escape my imagination, which by now was wide awake. I wondered what it would be like to hear the sound of numberless marching feet keeping in step with the song that played out in my head.

Oh, when the saints go marching in, when the saints go marching in…. Step by step by step…

The picture, and the imagined sound of a host of saints clad in white, briefly controlled the night while the quiet, steady rhythm of my heart joined in perfect syncopation.

Oh, when the saints go marching in, when the saints go marching in…Thump, thump, thump…And so it continued like the steady beat of a drum until sleep drifted in and turned off the sound.

The dawning of a new day brought renewed thoughts of the night before. I reflected on the songs that had always played a part in the lonely night time hours when anxious moments tried to keep me awake. But I also remembered those nights without a song, when there were no words to speak to my restlessness and no melody to lull me to sleep.

I’m grateful that those nights were few. Most nights when disturbing events of the day refused to go away, and I lay in the darkness with thoughts and heartbeat in serious overdrive, God always chose just the right song to meet whatever troubled me, and instead of counting sheep, I embraced His alternative to Ambien.

One night He chose one of my favorite songs to remind me of His faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see…Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness…

I wonder if they’ll find anything when I take the test tomorrow.

Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

Twenty two hundred dollars for car repairs. Where will I find the money for THAT! …

Morning by morning new mercies I see…All I have needed Thy hand hath provided…

It didn’t take long for my restless heart to get the message…Sorry, no sleepless night tonight. Steadily, gradually, a heart at ease adapted to the song’s comforting words; Great is Thy faithfulness…all I have needed…until the two beat as one; over… and over…one beat with one note, and then again until sleep came.

That God entertains my distresses with songs is a welcomed blessing for me because I know that songs for the darkest nights are divine favors as old as the book of Psalm* and as emancipating as Paul and Silas’s midnight songfest.

Since that night, there has not been a sudden middle of the night awakening where visions of marching saints paraded through my imagination, and a song of victory beat in unison with my heart. But I’ll never forget the image. It reminds me of the journey I’m on to a land where there is no night. And until then, whenever my heart is overwhelmed, and my restless mind seeks refuge from the cares of the day, God will repeat what He has done throughout time. He will give a song for my troubled nights and yours.

*Psalm 77:6


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This article has been read 229 times
Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 01/31/13
Moving account in this well written and entertaining entry. Thanks.

God bless~
Allison Egley 02/02/13
I love this. God often speaks to me through music too. Nice job.
Danielle King 02/02/13
I can identify with sleepless nights and I often play CD's of hymns and psalms in the night, (through ear-phones) I liked the paragraph 'It didn't take long for my restless heart to get the message...until the two beat as one.' A lovely entry for the topic.
lynn gipson 02/02/13
I really enjoyed this because I have those three in the morning nights myself. All I have to do remember that all I need He will provide.

Now that song about the Saints is in my head, but I like the song!

REally well done.

Noel Mitaxa 02/03/13
Like the honesty, the humour and the confidence that fills this whole entry. Great work.
Bea Edwards 02/03/13
I often wake in the wee hours to a lovely tune which I take as a special message from God.
It's comforting to know He is working on us even in our unconsciousness. Thank you for this precious reminder.
Carolyn Ancell02/04/13
Excellent treatment of topic in a way that places reader with you in the action. Loved the inclusion of the reader at the end.
Cheryl Harrison 02/04/13
"That God entertains my distresses with songs is a welcomed blessing for me because I know that songs for the darkest nights are divine favors as old as the book of Psalm* and as emancipating as Paul and Silas’s midnight songfest."

I loved this line. Nice job!
Myrna Noyes02/04/13
This is such a wonderfully encouraging piece! So many of us can relate to the words of a song playing through our minds and bringing us peace and comfort in the dark times.

I especially liked your closing: "whenever my heart is overwhelmed, and my restless mind seeks refuge from the cares of the day, God will repeat what He has done throughout time. He will give a song for my troubled nights and yours."

I also liked how you contrasted the words of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with the worries of the day! Excellent writing! :)
Alicia Renkema02/05/13
You have the most beautiful writing -- how one sentence leans into the next or reclines with its own restfulness... I love the fact that we all are on a "journey where there will be no more night." Music is such a wonderful part of my life; it was exhilarating to read how God uses it in your life in the middle of the night to soothe your soul. He has used it in my life many times when I am very distressed / frustrated during the day in worship or waking up from a sleep to "just the right song" on the Christian radio station I have my alarm set to. "Great is thy Faithfulness" is one of my favorite hymns and I was singing it in my spirit throughout reading this very wonderful piece. I also liked the contrast in the two melodies of the songs you chose. You did a wonderful job of repeating God's faithfulness to you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/07/13
Congratulations for ranking 25 overall!