Finding Light in the Darkness: Songs for the Weary, Grieving, and Hopeless

I had the privilege of attending the Sing! Conference hosted by Keith and Kristyn Getty, who are modern-day hymn writers and talented musicians. It was three and a half glorious days filled with beautiful music, incredibly talented musicians and songwriters, teaching by some of the most influential pastors of our day, and biblical encouragement from Joni Eareckson Tada herself. Thousands of people from all over the world descended on the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN for this incredible conference, and 16,000 attended a concert of music and preaching at Bridgestone Arena, where Joni led us in the most moving and soul-stirring a capella singing of "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," the likes of which I wonder if I'll ever experience again this side of heaven.

Being immersed in that worship-filled environment for three days straight was most refreshing and needed for my weary soul. To be surrounded by people singing praise and worship, knowing we all have our baggage and various temporary and permanent thorns, yet there we were: singing our hearts out, being encouraged in song with the voices of thousands uplifting our hearts and minds to focus on the One who loves us most, the only true Hope we have in this fallen world of darkness and despair. The One who allows trials, challenges, hardship, disability and death uses those things to make us more like Christ, redeeming the despair into delight through the light of Christ. He repurposes it all into something more beautiful than we ever thought possible; He strengthens our feeble knees to stand on a solid foundation of hope, that He is making all things new, both now and forevermore.

Sarah Broady Sing Conference Photo.jpg

As believers, we have both a duty and delight to worship this God who redeems and rules over all. Psalm 139:7-12 tells us,

"Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you."

Wherever we go, He is there. Whenever we call, He listens. This is the God to whom we ascribe all honor and power and glory forever, and He is worthy of our worship, regardless of our circumstances. He grants us His strength when we are weak, His glory when we are shamed, and His honor when we are brought low.

And so we sing. We sing to refocus our eyes and our spirit, because we need Him to do through us what we need to do, but often feel we cannot. We need Him to succeed for us when we feel we have failed. He is our yes and our success.

And so, we sing. This new series is going to walk through songs of worship that the hurting heart needs to sing, the aching soul needs to feel, and the cracked, dried lips need to utter. Some of these songs were new to me at the conference, and I'm so excited to introduce them to you, or remind you of their truths if you already know them.

The first song is this hymn, All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name by Edward Perronet. Before Joni led us in a capella worship with this hymn, she said this:

“In Heaven, I will be free. I will be free to jump up, dance, kick, do aerobics, and though I'm sure Jesus will be delighted to watch me rise up on tiptoe, there’s something I plan to do that might please Him more. If possible, at some point before the party gets going, at some point before the guests are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb, the first thing I plan to do on resurrected legs is to drop on grateful, glorified knees. I will quietly kneel before the Lord, and give a sacrifice. It will be my last opportunity to give heartfelt thanks to the Lord Jesus for the grace He gave year after year when my hands were limp and useless and my feet couldn’t walk.

It will be a sacrifice of paralyzed praise.

After a moment of kneeling before Jesus, I shall spring to my feet and stretch my arms wide—no more shriveled hands, no more atrophied muscles, no more toes that can’t wiggle."

We start with this song in this series because this isn't about us. It's not about disability, Down syndrome, or disease. It's not about genetic mutations, infection, feeding tubes, or paralysis. It's not about autism and "1 in 50" but about the truly awesome God we serve, and the 1 out of 100 that He left others to save. It's not about our anxiety over the future, but our trust in the God who holds the future in His hands. It's not about our failures, but about His sure success to secure our salvation on the cross. It's not about our daily short-comings, but His mercies made new every morning. There is no defeat in death, because He accomplished the Resurrection that raises us all from the dead. There is only one salvation, and it is in the proclamation of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our hope. He is our yes and amen. He alone can save.

And so, we sing.

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all!

O seed of Israel's chosen race
now ransomed from the fall,
hail him who saves you by his grace,
and crown him Lord of all.
Hail him who saves you by his grace,
and crown him Lord of all!

Let every tongue and every tribe
responsive to his call,
to him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of all.
To him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of all!

Oh, that with all the sacred throng
we at his feet may fall!
We'll join the everlasting song
and crown him Lord of all.
We'll join the everlasting song
and crown him Lord of all.

Join us in song in the video I shared on the Hope in Autism FB page. I missed the first line as I was rushing to get the phone out to record, but I pray your heart will be moved to worship through this song.

Sarah Broady is a wife, and mother to three boys including one with autism. She is a writer, advocate, speaker, and podcaster for her podcast, A Special Hope, available on her website, Hope in Autism and any podcast platform. You can find her on Facebook at @HopeinAutism, @ASpecialHopePodcast, on Twitter @3boys4me and @aspecialhopepod, and Instagram @aspecialhopepodcast.