When Music Isn’t Enough: 3 responses for the artist in times of tragedy

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. – 1 Samuel 16:23 (KJV)

How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land? – Psalm 137:4 (KJV) 

In times of tragedy and loss, musicians and artists are asked to use their gifts to comfort the brokenhearted. We bring our songs, our art, our expressions to people in pain to give them a sense of peace.6070931149_864b5f9b0b_z

But what if the artist feels the same pain?

Does a song bring adequate solace to the singer? Can a performance bring peace to the musician?

Sometimes, the music is not enough. Those of us that love God must have a resource beyond our music alone. There are three places we can run to.

1. The Christ.  No matter how deep the pain or loss, Jesus promises to be near to the brokenhearted. An artist must find comfort in the One that can comfort all hearts. We can not give solace to others if we don’t know the Savior’s love for ourselves. If you don’t draw from your own well of worship, your vessel will run dry while tending to the hurts of others.

  1. The Church.  While recent events try to convince us that the church is no longer safe, the believing artist knows that the true Church is not bricks and mortar. It is made of hands and hearts. The evils of the world can not destroy the message, nor dissuade God’s messengers from sharing His ultimate triumph. Christian artists have to believe, belong, and be active among a local body of Christians in order to refresh and renew themselves in times of pain.

3. The Circle (Family, Friends, Fellow Artists).  Every believing musician and artist must have a group that knows them intimately, and understands their fears, hurts and insecurities. We cannot create authentic art for the hurting while we hide from our own frailty.  These trusted confidants must know more than your art. They must know your heart. When we have people who listen to us as fellow human beings, we will have the strength to continue pouring out to others as artists.

When we can run to these three places, we will be able to express what words and speeches can not. We can provide what this world needs in time of pain; the sound of hope, echoes of a time to come where He will wipe every tear from our eyes, in a place where songs of joy will never end.

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