I DON'T FEEL NO WAYS TIRED
THERE is an old gospel hymn sung in Protestant churches and made famous by the late Rev James Cleveland that gives strong courage to all Christians who hear it, particularly to those facing obstacles of pain, hurt or sorrow but are firm believers in Almighty God. Like many hymns, it is a spiritually satisfying experience, bringing forth all the precepts we know to be true, vocalizing our faith.
FOLLOWING the well trodden path of life walked by the great men of God such as Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David and all the great disciples and prophets before us, we can take encouragement from songs that emphasize we dont have to be afraid. We know, after thousands of years, He is still holding out His loving Hand to lead us home. If we depend on this faith in God through Jesus Christ, we know that He is always with us, willingly taking up our burdens and tenderly caring for us. This is a simple truth with no frills, no deep searching analogies, no rules or regulations, just a basic, deep seated, positive knowledge that God lives in us, loves us and never leaves us to face lifes uncertainties alone.
RELIGIOUS music is a powerful tool for it stays in our memory and we can access it any time we feel the need for encouragement and support. When our lives become too hard for us to handle and we cannot find an answer anywhere, it is comforting to re-live Gods promises through song. Though some are simplistic they can carry a powerful message re-affirming the faith we carry in our hearts. They can give us the courage we sometimes need in our daily walk with the Lord. It is no small wonder that our souls fill with joy when we hear music that touches us. It brings solace to our hungry hearts and can be a fortification of all we believe, expressed and sanctioned by something deep inside us. This is balm for the soul. There are many references made in the Bible about music and one can be found in Psalms 100:1 which states Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Some may think it undignified and unnatural to show spiritual feelings in song, believing religion is private and unemotional. If someone reacts with feeling, those feelings are not to be trusted and are suspect.
MANY Christians get so caught up in rationalizing life, interpreting the Bible according to some code they have designed themselves, that they become deaf and cannot hear God giving so many clear directions needed to reach Him through His word and song. Music ministry is not intended as a substitute for hearing the word of God; it is an enhancement that in itself tells of faith, hope and all the things we hold to be true. However, we continue to seek Biblical education and search for spiritual knowledge. The importance of knowing as much as we can about our Savior and Heavenly Father will always be with us. It could be compared in a human and minuscule way to falling in love and wanting to know everything about the one we care about.
I ONCE interviewed a Roman Catholic Priest who said one of the main attractions Protestant churches possess is instead of an intellectual faith it is a faith of feeling. He continued there is no reason we cant do the same thing except our seminaries beat your faith from your heart to your head and you have to spend years getting it back down to your heart. This is sad but true. We search biblical history and know all the important passages, know the Bible in its entirety but many times lack the gift of feeling. The guidelines become so blurred and confusing some are blind to the signposts pointing the direction God want us to take. Faith is not a diploma to be handed out at the end of a factual and unemotional course. It is a strong belief that lives in the heart, spilling over for the world to see. It is something God gives us through His grace and all are welcome to it.
THE Holy Spirit is not passive but an emotionally active force in our lives. David of the Old Testament in happiness danced before the Lord expressing the joy of his salvation. And the Holy Spirit seeks release, whether through discipleship or some other form of sharing. It is the very thing that makes, indeed, demands more than knowledge. Contrary to some popular Christian beliefs, music is not a form of entertainment. When we hear good music or a good homily it should console and give peace to our troubled or needy souls. It is right to be sensitive to that. One might say this gift of feeling is like a lullaby coming from our Supreme Father Who, in a gentle way, offers us a comfort reminiscent of that which our mothers offered to us as young children.
THERE are people who say feelings dont count, that there is no place for them within the Church. Others think we cannot trust emotional expression because it can change or become erratic, so religion has to be based on something stronger. Some state knowledge is everything, or declare liturgy by rote is supreme because it is the only way we can get to know God. Gods power comes in many forms and many talents. Whatever talent God uses to divinely inspire us as Catholic Christians the most important thing to remember and recognize is our God lives, our God loves, our God saves, and our God reigns forever and ever. Because we believe this to be true, we raise our voices in sincere praise and worship to our Heavenly Father.
LIKE the proverbial EverReady batteries, when we are faced with things that weigh our spirits down we keep on going, knowing our Heavenly Father is right there with us. We continue to pray; positive He is listening to every plea we make in earnest. We instinctively know He will take the impossible and make it possible. He has promised to wipe away every single, precious tear we shed if we believe that He can. If we have been walking the path of Jesus all our lives, we dont get fainthearted or weak because we know He is at our side, always ready to take up the load.
AND SO, we can say, much like that old gospel song, We Dont Feel No Ways Tired when we stand up to truth and justice. We Dont Feel No Ways Tired when we have to go out at a late hour of the night to help a dying friend, or offer support to someone in need. We Dont Feel No Ways Tired when, after being up all night with a sick child, we have to get up early on Sunday mornings to go to mass. We Dont Feel No Ways Tired when we give our time and money to one of Gods children in need. We Dont Feel No Ways Tired when we are scorned, laughed at or persecuted for our beliefs. With all the wonderful promises God has given to us, we know that someday we will share in His bounty, truly saying as that old hymn tells us, I Dont Feel No Ways Tired . for I have come too far from where I started from . Nobody told me the road would be easy . But I dont believe He brought me this far just to leave me.
"Sing to the Lord a new song ~ play skillfully ~ and shout
for joy!" Psalms 33:3
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