What are you singing to yourself?

  • Matt's Musings

I read the tragic story of the inquest into a man’s death in South Wales, who jumped from a viaduct earlier this year. It was heart wrenching to read of the man’s father saying that his son was obsessed with last song syndrome, where the last song he heard would play over and over in his head. What turmoil this man must have known and what grief remains for his family and friends.

As I read about ‘last song syndrome’ it made me wonder about what I am singing to myself. We are constantly singing and speaking to ourselves. Often we are replaying conversations we have had and putting the worst possible slant on them. Sometimes we lay awake worrying about an upcoming event and we run through all of the things that could go wrong. Maybe we are haunted by past failures. Perhaps we are bombarding ourselves with a cocktail of song lyrics and images. We can focus on our feelings and our health and be fearful. The reality is that we speak a great deal of untruth to ourselves.

The Bible contains its own song book – its own soundtrack for life – called Psalms. There are two psalms (42 & 43) that really form one song are so helpful. Three times in this song, the writer asks himself, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” There he is listening to untruth, slowly sinking, but what does he do? He deliberately calls to mind truth and sings to himself. “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.” He wants to ensure that the song that gets stuck in his head is the truth.

As we consider these words, this is more than the power of positive thinking. As helpful as that is, it will only carry us so far. The song writer knows that at times life can be very dark, the valleys can be very deep and that the prospect of death is something we must all face. Yet he is able to sing of his solid hope in a great future.

These psalms are ultimately the songs and prayers of Jesus. As the shadow of the cross on which Jesus would be crucified, loomed over him and darkness reigned, he was able to look to the joy that was set before him. As he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, he put his hope in the same God, knowing he would yet praise him. He committed his spirit into his Father’s hands knowing that he had overcome sin and death for his people.

Therefore, through faith in Jesus Christ, you can sing

“No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
(Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music)

What are you singing to yourself?

Posted by Matt Francis, 12th August 2020