Last week, I heard church talks about the power of music, and it caused me to reflect more on the impact of music in my life.
I wanted to share two thoughts that came while I was listening.
One was a memory. I have suffered from migraines and dizziness for many years, and in the early years, my neurologist ordered MRIs to check to see if there was anything that could threaten my life.
I debated about whether or not to be sedated. I do deal with some clausterphobia, and a good friend of mine said that she opted for the medicine to help her through the procedure. The night before the MRI, though, I had a very clear impression that I would be able to endure the procedure without being sedated.
As I lay in the machine the next day, I had the thought to sing in my mind while the MRI was being conducted. I was in the loud tube for quite a while, and it was not easy. I could sometimes feel a sense of panic tapping at me and wanting to take over. But as I sang in my mind, my focus shifted to God, and it actually became a worshipful experience. As my heart and mind sang, at times I even wept for the help I was feeling through the experience.
The second thought was a reminder. A couple of months ago, I had the impression to go through the hymns to note all the ways these sacred pieces of music teach about God’s nature and attributes. Joseph Smith taught in order “for any rational and intelligent being to exercise faith in God unto life and salvation” one must have, among other things, “a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.” (Lectures on Faith, 1:2, 4).
The first hymn I remember learning on the piano is “How Gentle God’s Commands.” This is one of the shortest in the green hymnbook that we have used for decades in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (A new hymnbook — considering input from 50,000 people and 16,000 submissions from people in well over six dozen countries — will be released in a few years.) But this little hymn is packed with beautiful truth about God’s nature. I’ve italicized words that stand out to me, including invitations He offers to us to give Him our burdens, which teaches about His desire to lighten the loads we sometimes carry as we walk this journey of mortality.
- How gentle God’s commands!
How kind his precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord
And trust his constant care.
- Beneath his watchful eye,
His Saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard his children well.
- Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind?
Haste to your Heav’nly Father’s throne
And sweet refreshment find.
- His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I’ll drop my burden at his feet
And bear a song away.
(Find various free arrangements of this hymn here.)
How has music helped you learn more about and feel God’s love?