[This is an installment in the very-sporadic Monday Music series, which initially dealt with Christian music topics and has more recently included other music. The MM category of posts may be accessed here.]
Never has a more ridiculous stanza been written than this one:
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But his smile quickly drives it away.
Not a doubt nor a fear, not a sigh nor a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
That’s from “Trust and Obey,” otherwise known by its first line, “When We Walk with the Lord.” There are many good thoughts in the song, and I’d sing most of them willingly. But not the above lines. Even if God’s smile drives some shadows away for some people some of the time (a reality I accept), it is patently unhelpful to suggest that there’s no shadow or cloud or doubt or fear that can last while we trust and obey. I know too much about the shadows and clouds to sing such baloney.
Now . . . never has a more appropriate, helpful stanza been written than this one:
The anger of the enemy would have swallowed us alive
Had it not been the Lord who was on our side.
The waters would have engulfed us; we would have surely died
Had it not been the Lord who was on our side,
The above stanzas, being poetic, are probably better interpreted figuratively, and I should be charitable, allowing others to understand it non-literally. Despite the direct reference in the second example to scripture, the first example makes better English poetry. My own introductory expression in each case—”never has a more appropriate/ridiculous stanza been written”—is but poetic hyperbole, too, and I acknowledge that.
Whether we trust and obey, or run and hide, or peek around the corner to see what the next horror or disappointment might be in this life . . . or become overwhelmed by a flood, I affirm what the chorus of the second song proclaims:
Blessed be the Lord, who would not give us up.
– Leonard E. Smith, Jr., “Had it Not Been the Lord”
I’m relieved not to have been subjected to Christmas music yesterday. A couple of weeks’ worth is enough for me. Today, some score study of Dvorak and Carpenter and some fun flugelhorn playing. The musical diet tomorrow will include master Horowitz on the piano.