Some of you may not know that I grew up steeped in Southern Gospel music. Daddy led the music and Mama played the piano at Beech Grove Baptist Church many years of my childhood. He played the guitar and sang all the time. From early in life, he had Becky and me singing right along with him. We often traveled for Daddy to sing with friends that were part of traveling gospel groups. Family gatherings always included lots of music. Music was a huge part of our lives.
Those that know me now, know that I love all types of music. As Christian music goes, I typically listen to current (what used to be called contemporary) music. However, it’s not unusual for me to blast Christian Rap or Rock one minute and Bluegrass the next. But let me just say, there’s something about the old Southern Gospel songs!
They transport me back to childhood. They put things back into perspective for me. They remind me that this world is not my home. They prompt me to raise my hands in praise. They bring on tears of remembrance and tears of joy for my eternal future. They speak to the depths of my soul.
During this crazy time of the COVID-19 Pandemic and social distancing, I have found myself battling anxiety like I haven’t in years. Worries over the health of family and friends sometimes feel suffocating. Overthinking how long this will last and how it will end is like a heavy fog settling over me.
Then, an old song will come to mind. God will remind me that it is “so sweet to trust in Jesus” and “what a friend we have in Jesus.” These songs have been on repeat in my mind.
This morning, I took a listen down memory lane and was reminded that one day all this will pass. One day, I won’t have any worries. One day, all those who are saved by the blood of the Lamb will celebrate in the presence of our Savior.
I think one of the reasons I love the old Southern Gospel songs so much is that they were constantly pointing us to Jesus and to Heaven. We need to remember that if we are Christ-followers this world is not our home.
This morning, a song took me back to Beech Grove Baptist: sitting in the pew with Mom and Pap behind us…Ms. Louise Brewer and her purse of candy sitting down the row from us…and Ms. Lois Rutledge at the pulpit singing, praising and pleading for God to Swing Wide the Gates. The worries melted away for a time. Peace flowed through me.
Today, I’m thankful for those memories. I’m thankful, too, that one day the gates of heaven will swing open and I’ll finally be home. What a day that will be!
Praying for you today to find peace in the midst of this difficult time.
(If you want to hear the song “Swing Wide the Gates,” you can do a quick YouTube search and find it.)