Why I Sing The Blues
Blues is a lost art form in today’s society. Men would sing with growls of dissatisfaction, and women like Billie Holiday with soft moans meant to express sincere sadness. People like B.B. King would play guitar in such a way that one could experience the true depth of human feeling through every wailing note. Why would we listen to such music? It seems counterintuitive that we would devote a whole genre to our sorrow in relationships, our losses, or our questions of right and wrong.
There is something deep within every human being that compels us to express our emotions, whether high or low. When we are happy we smile. When we find something humorous we laugh. When we are sad we cry and lament. This is part of who we were created to be. It is how we connect with other people and with God. We look around us and we react to our circumstances or to those of the world and we jump for joy or mourn for loss. In fact, the whole of Scripture shows both the joy and mourning of its writers. Within its pages, men like David in the Psalms or Jeremiah the prophet weep for themselves, their families, and their nation; yet Paul and Silas sing praises in prison, and the apostles rejoice at being counted worthy of the suffering of Jesus Christ.
Despite what we might have been told growing up, it is not only alright, but necessary to let our feelings out. It is essential that we smile and sing and weep and wail. With theses expressions of emotion, there is freedom as the true nature of humanity comes out. Considering what has been happening in our country, much less the world, tears should well up in our eyes. This world is so depraved, and when we cry we acknowledge that there is nothing that we can do about it. We have no power to save this country or our world, but we know One who can and has.
When we the saints cry out, we cry out to the One True God whose power alone can save us. We cry out to the One who shed his blood on the cross for us and who rose from the dead. We cry out to him because we know that he is the only One who can redeem the shootings of police and many African American men. We know that he is the only One who can truly redeem the starvation of many children around the world. He alone can bring his good from sickness and death. He alone can turn what man has intended for evil into good.
This is why we mourn. This is why we lament. This is why we sing the blues, because no matter how much we want to fix something, we cannot. We must call out to the only One who redeems. Therefore, let our cries serve a purpose. Let us bring to him our laments and our sorrows. Let us bring to him our joy and our songs. May they be a fragrant offering to him, that as we express these things, he will hear us from his throne and redeem each situation according to his will.