“Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Zion. We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.” – Psalm 137:1-2
Last week, when we came home from our fishing vacation, my wife and I were greeted with a heart-breaking circumstance. We found our cat, Buddie, lying in the front flower bed, close to death. She was badly injured and we knew immediately that there was no help for her. She was a joy to us.
Have you ever lost your joy—have you ever lost your song? What are the “joy stealers” we must overcome in life? How can we be restored when life causes us to “hang our harps on the willow trees?”
The children of Israel had gone into Babylonian captivity because of their unwillingness to honor God. Though they were willing to give Him a Sabbath day, they never did observe the Sabbath year. For every year they had robbed God, he exacted His payment in captivity.
Israel’s disobedience caused them to hang up their harps and stop singing. Disobedience will cause us to lose our song. We were made to be God’s trophies–we were created to glorify Him (Ephesians 2:10). When our obedience is not right, our purpose is not right, and our joy is not right!
Circumstances can cause us to lose our joy and song as well. David found himself running for his life—running from his own son! In the depths of his despair he cried out to God, “Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.” (Psalm 51:8)
People can cause us to lose our joy and song, too. Paul told the people living in Caesarea, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart!” (Acts 21:13) They loved Paul but they were trying to talk him out of doing what God had told him to do. Many times, our joy is stolen by the ones we love the most.
Finally, I believe that Things can cause us to lose our joy and song. Our hearts were never made to be divided in love or in loyalty. I have learned over the years that what a person lacks spiritually, they will try to attain temporally.
I have watched those who lack peace try to buy sleep in a pill or in a bottle. I have watched those who were empty in their relationship with God seek to find fulfillment in multiple relationships with others. I have watched as friends and acquaintances have pursued “things” thinking they would find happiness, only to experience the same numbing frustrations they had before.
God is our strength and song. We never have to be without Him! My joy is not in a possession, but in a Person—the Lord Jesus Christ! Don’t hang your harp on the willow trees. When my heart breaks, I choose to sing…till He heals it!