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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

A Song in the Night

By Robert P. Holland
Aug. 12, 2012

With few exceptions, Christians as well as unbelievers cry out to God for help in times of trouble. It is a normal reaction, and the Lord invites people to call on Him when crisis comes (Psalm 50:15). However, in addition to crying out to the Lord for help, God offers an alternative: Sing a song in the night (Job 35:9,10).

When Job lost his children, servants, livestock, income and wealth, he chose the alternative. He sang a song in the night. “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21, KJV).

By singing a song in the night, Job passed a critical test. He proved Satan’s accusation against him to be false (Job 1:9-11). Job didn’t serve the Lord because of what he had received or expected to receive from Him. When his children, servants, livestock, income and wealth were gone, Job still had his faith in the Lord.

This song in the night is also seen throughout the New Testament. When persecuted, rejoice (Matthew 5:11,12). In the time of tribulation, rejoice (Romans 5:3). Count it all joy when trials come (James 1:2).

New Testament discipleship not only requires disciples to be willing to give up all that Job had lost, but their own lives as well (Luke 14:26-33). Having voluntarily given up all they had, the New Testament disciples could sing songs in the night. And they did. When beaten, they rejoiced (Acts 5:41). When their property was plundered, they rejoiced (Hebrews 10:34).

Paul and Silas were beaten and put in prison with their feet secure in stocks. At midnight they sang songs in the night (Acts 16:25).

Paul had voluntarily surrendered all to follow Christ. And later, awaiting execution while imprisoned in Rome, that song in the night was still there (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

While I was pastor of Baptist Valley Assembly of God near Cedar Bluff, Va., I personally witnessed one of the men in our church singing a song in the night.

Rufus Cornwell was a heavy equipment operator in the coal mines. He came to church one Sunday morning saying he didn’t have any feeling in his right foot. He thought he had a pinched nerve.

The following week Rufus made an appointment with his family physician, who ordered X-rays and other tests. When the tests were completed, the diagnosis was a brain tumor. Arrangements were made for him to have surgery.

The surgeon was unable to remove the entire tumor, and Rufus endured radiation therapy. The cancer remained, however, and it spread to his lungs and other organs. Rufus and his family were informed there was nothing more that could be done except provide medication for the pain.

In the weeks that followed, Rufus endured a great deal of pain. One day while I was visiting with Rufus and his wife, Mildred, she said that when his pain became severe, Rufus would start singing a hymn.

Not long after that my wife and I volunteered to spend the night with Rufus so Mildred could get some much-needed rest. During the night Rufus called for Mildred. I went into his room and told him she was asleep. Not long after that I heard Rufus singing a song in the night.

Suffering, dying, leaving his family and all that he had, he sang a song in the night. His faith was genuine. He had forsaken all and followed Christ (Luke 14:26-33).

Rufus was completely in the Lord’s care. He had found the treasure hidden in the field and sold all that he had to buy the field (Matthew 13:44). When everything was gone, he still had the treasure.

Singing songs in the night may be literal or figurative. It was literal for Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:25). They sang hymns. It was literal for Rufus, too. He sang hymns.

But it was figurative for Mildred. In the most difficult times, she was calm and never panicked or showed signs of fear. During those days, I never saw her without a smile, and I had no doubt it was genuine. The Lord was her Shepherd and, like the Psalmist, she did not want (Psalm 23:1).

Rufus’ testimony of singing a song in the night is a reminder that there is more to our existence than this life. It also reminds us that fellowship with Jesus Christ is more valuable than anything else. When everything is gone, we still have eternal life through Christ our Lord.

On a clear day we have no problem seeing the sun. But during a thunderstorm the clouds hide the sun from our sight. Nevertheless, the sun still shines just as brightly above the clouds.

Times of trouble are like the thunderstorm that conceals the sun from our sight. Faith looks beyond the clouds, perceives the light, and sings a song in the night.

ROBERT P. HOLLAND is an ordained minister with the Appalachian District of the Assemblies of God.

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