(an article originally written for our local newspaper, The Gleaner)
We have come to a significant anniversary in Northwood. Seven years ago, on the 26th of August, a tornado that changed lives forever brought its devastation to the town. Today our town stands as a model of resiliency, determination, cooperation, and neighborly care as we have recovered from that storm. Northwood is stronger as a community having experienced the bond of shared adversity.
This month I have been presenting articles speaking about faith through the lens of music. I have referenced Ephesians 5:19, where the apostle Paul tells us to address one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and to make melody to the Lord with our hearts. There is so much power in the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual impact of music, it seems to be the very language of our souls. When faced with great difficulty, what powerful words might we sing to remind us of the victory we have in Christ Jesus, and the power to overcome overwhelming circumstances?
I think of a song that is familiar to many, “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. This song is a modern “spiritual song” written in the style of a traditional hymn. In the words of one of the composers, it was intended to “tell the story of the whole gospel” in one song. Here are the powerful opening lines of this great song of triumph:
“In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my all in all- here in the love of Christ I stand.”
The clear message of this soul-reaching song is that Jesus is the reason we have hope to make it through even the most difficult and trying times. Whether those times be challenging emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or physically, our hope and trust to survive the “fiercest drought and storm” is found in faith in Jesus Christ.
How did Jesus provide us this hope? The rest of this song explains that Jesus was God in the flesh, and He came as a gift of love to the ones He created. In spite of the fact that we rejected Him when He was on this earth, He finished the work that He came to do. He himself said that He came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). He did this by absorbing the wrath of God against sinful mankind as He paid the penalty for our sin on the Cross.
When it seemed as though death had its victory over the very son of God, Jesus rose from the dead as a declaration of His authority over death and the grave, and as a statement that His sacrifice was sufficient. No more did God’s creation need to live in fear of death (2 Timothy 1:9-10)!
And now the song states the case for our victory:
“No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me…
No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand
’Til He returns or calls me home. Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
Whether your storm is a tornado, family strain, financial difficulty, spiritual darkness, or any other challenge, your victory may be found in Jesus Christ. Turn to Him, and find your hope in Him who has loved you and offers you forgiveness, grace, and mercy.