There’s a section in Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, where the soaring sopranos sing a couple of notes of “He shall reign forever and ever,” then the altos and tenors chime in with their variations on the theme, then the basses add their strong voices, “He shall reign forever and ever!”
It’s startling, but beautiful, as it repeats over and over again with different voices and different melodies the wonderful coming of Christ our King.
That music came to mind this morning as I read Psalm 35:10 (nlt):
With every bone in my body I will praise Him;
Lord, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong?
Recently I had a bout with an unpronounceable disease, polymyalgia rheumatica, which made bones I didn’t even know I owned hurt.
So when I read in my Bible this morning that every bone of my body should praise the Lord, I nearly laughed out loud. That little left finger I broke years ago in Guam that aches when the weather changes, that finger should praise the Lord? That rotator cuff pain in my left shoulder that gave me an excuse not to clean house for two whole weeks should thank God? That hip that once in a while makes it hard to crawl out of bed mornings should sing “Thank you, Jesus”?
Yes. Every bone. Every day. All day. If every bone in my body praised God, what a wonderful cacophony of sound that would be-maybe a little like the Hallelujah Chorus!
But it isn’t just my bones that should praise the Lord. In Psalm 103:1 King David said, “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!“
I do love God-He has been so good, so kind, so loving, so patient with me. I want to love Him like the Bible tells me I ought:
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
Now if my body and my mind and my heart and soul all joined to praise the Lord, mightn’t that even sound even a little bit more like the Hallelujah Chorus?
You might ask, “Do you think your bones won’t ache so much if you praise God with them?” No, I’m sure they’ll ache just as much. God didn’t promise my pain would go away if I praised Him. But as I focus on my wonderful God, and all the loving and gracious things He keeps doing for me, wouldn’t I’d be distracted from my pain for a while?
After all, He didn’t say He’d take away our pain, or suffering, or loneliness, or grief. He promised to be with us through it all. Romans 8:35-37 says it this way:
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity,
or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? . . .
No, despite all these things,
overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
“Overwhelming victory is ours”? Yes. Despite aching bones, aging mind, and a weary spirit, I can sing “Hallelujah!” Overwhelming victory is ahead for me-and for you-as we praise Him.
A Surprising Scripture from Elizabeth Rice Handford