Five Worship Songs for Families in Uncertain Times
Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was trained classically on the piano, but my dad exposed us to a variety of music growing up. The speakers blared everything from Simon and Garfunkel to Phantom of the Opera, but it was always the songs that pointed me to Scripture that I retained in life’s most poignant moments.
While listening to a variety of music is good and fun, it’s important to teach our kids that what goes into our ears reaches our souls. Our repertoire should be balanced accordingly, with music that is Christ-filled. As a church music director, I believe that worshipful songs are nourishment for spiritual growth. They remind us of who God is and they remind us of what Scripture teaches.
It might take a while for this to “click” for some children (worship songs are not going to be the default at most teen gatherings, let’s be honest), but we can use moments in our daily lives to expose them to worshipful music that speaks into particular seasons. Our current season is one of uncertainty due to Covid, and we will continue to face uncertainty in the days and months ahead. The old hymns provide so much comfort in these strange times, and I sincerely hope that churches continue to sing them for generations to come. But there are also modern artists writing wonderful, theologically rich worship songs that provide comfort and hope. So, whether it’s shuttling around kids in the car or turning on the speaker while you’re cooking dinner, whether it’s in a quiet space or a room filled with activity, here are five worship songs to “turn up” because they speak Biblical truth into life’s uncertainties:
King of Kings, Hillsong – This song essentially tells the gospel story with the melodic power necessary for such truths. It begins by reminding us of the beauty of the incarnation and then leads to the essential truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the last part of verse three that causes my eyes to swell: “…Now this gospel truth of old shall not kneel shall not faint. By his blood and in his name, in his freedom I am free. For the love of Jesus Christ who has resurrected me.” Here’s the reality for believers in Jesus: No matter how uncertain our life may feel, the King of Kings remains on His throne. He reigns over the past, the present, and all that is to come, and because of His resurrection, we are not bound by fear. There is nothing that happens in life that is powerful enough to stop this gospel truth from moving forward. Nothing. Let these encouraging words of truth wash over you in the midst of uncertainty.
Question for Discussion: Jesus is King and reigns over all of creation. How can this truth provide comfort when you feel anxious?
Continuously, Sandra McCracken and Liz Vice – The gospel groove of this song is contagious, and the words are such a pointed reminder that no matter what trials we may face tomorrow, our Abba Father is always with us. The bridge takes on the commanding voice of Jesus and reminds us what He lovingly tells us in His Word: “Rest in my love as you sleep tonight. Rest in the song that mercy sings. Your shield and strength all through the fire – I will be your covering.” Psalm 55:22 tells us to cast our burdens on the Lord. Throw them with force because He can handle our deepest fears and our greatest struggles. He does not leave us or forsake us, but He walks with us through uncertainty in life.
Question for Discussion: The song reminds us that God is our shelter wherever we go. We read about God being our shelter and our refuge in Psalm 46. What does it look like for God to be your refuge, strength, and help in the face of uncertainty?
Christ is Mine Forevermore, CityAlight – This is a truly beautiful song by a group that I hope continues to gain exposure. In many ways the song explores Christianity as it touches on the moments of sin, sorrow, and persecution. The second verse does not minimize the pain of fear and uncertainty that many of us face: “Mine are tears in times of sorrow, darkness not yet understood. Through the valley I must travel where I see no earthly good.” Sometimes we’re called to walk paths that make absolutely no sense, and the pain of this should not be dismissed. The next line of the song starts with the glorious three letter word, BUT. We may not see earthly good in our pain, “But mine is peace that flows from heaven and the strength in times of need. I know my pain will not be wasted; Christ completes his work in me.” This is a promise from Jesus that we can and should hold onto when we face uncertainty. No trial is purposeless, and no fear is void of the truth that we belong to Jesus now and forevermore.
Questions for Discussion: What is the peace that flows from heaven and how is it different from the peace the world offers? Is there a trial you have faced or are facing that does not seem to make earthly sense? In what ways can the peace that comes from Jesus give you strength as you face fears and uncertainties?
The Daughters of Zion, Josh Garrels and Casey J – Songs of lament are not as typical in our churches and very rarely heard on Christian radio, but the Bible is filled with songs of lament. When life is uncertain, it’s good to cry out to Jesus, to mourn the brokenness and confusion that is often found in this world. This song laments injustice, crying out in beautiful harmonies, “How long? How long? When will the truth come out? When will Your justice roll down? How long?” We don’t need to wait until we have it figured out in order to come to Jesus. Scripture is profoundly comforting to mourners showing us a God who is patient with impatient waiters. There will be a day when all things are made right and new; there will be a day when justice will roll down like water and our doubts will be gone forever. And this song reminds believers that even as we mourn brokenness and uncertainty, we can rest assured that, “sorrow won’t always last; the dark will surely pass.”
Question for Discussion:When you’re confused or uncertain, do you talk honestly to God about your struggles and doubts? Why or why not? What does it look like, practically, to mourn injustice?
Is He Worthy, Andrew Peterson – This powerful worship song is written in a question-and-answer-format and is packed full of encouraging truth. Peterson, an incredibly eloquent writer, has given a great explanation of the hope we have; a hope which trumps all uncertainty: “I had been taught that Jesus loved me so much that He died to save me from my sin. But I didn’t know why. What was His end game? What was the purpose? Why go to all that trouble? Just so I could go float around with Porky Pig on a cloud? It made me feel guilty, but it didn’t wake up any longing to be with Him. But all the breadcrumbs of the Old Testament, the birth, life, and death of Jesus, even His resurrection, are leading to something so good and glorious and yet so astonishingly simple: a new earth. A new creation. He is remaking what the Fall destroyed. He’s ransoming a people for Himself from every tribe, nation, and tongue, making a kingdom — and we shall reign on the earth. That, my friends, is a staggering promise. It’s good, good news. Yes, the Incarnation and Crucifixion are important—but we mustn’t stop short of the climax of the story. You and I won’t be floating on cartoon clouds. We’ll be tending a new garden as ransomed, redeemed, resurrected, fully human beings, living to glorify Jesus himself, who alone deserves all blessing and honor and glory” (http://blog.brentwoodbenson.com/is-he-worthy-story-behind-the-song/).
Amen and Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Questions for Discussion: How does knowing Jesus give you hope as you face uncertainties in this life? The Bible assures us that we can have hope in Jesus now and hope in eternity to come. There will be a day when all will be made new; there will no longer be suffering, crying, uncertainty, or fear, and we will be with our Savior forever. Do you ever think about what the new heavens and the new earth will be like? Why or why not? Read together Revelation 21.
In the coming months, worship leader and Rooted Steering Committee member Katie Polski will continue to share her favorite worship songs and hymns for families. We have created our very own Rooted Spotify playlist using the songs she recommends so that you can sing along with your family. Enjoy!