Sing and Be Happy by Brother Larry Vann

Well, I had a really interesting experience a couple weeks ago.

I did something that unexpectedly caused my mind to flash back to when I was a kid.  It was a really vivid recollection.

Have you ever had that happen to you?

For my case, I had been plowing the garden in windy 24 degree weather.  My fingers got so cold they hurt to the point of going numb.

However, I stubbornly finished the targeted amount of plowing before I went back to the house.  And while a wee small voice was telling me not to do it, I decided I'd speed up the warming up process by putting my hands under some warm running tap water -

and WHAM! -    I was 10 years old again.

I suddenly, and vividly, remembered doing the same thing all those years ago - complete to the point of laying my head on my folded arms on the edge of the sink and whining with pain.

I was 10 years old when I promised myself that I would never, ever, do that again.  I was true to that promise for almost 50 years and then WHAM! - did it again.

The lesson today is titled "Sing and Be Happy".  It is based on a song whose words are meant to help us deal with those things that cause us pain - not for doing things we shouldn't, like my story, but through what we believe to be no fault of our own.

This is not an easy lesson, but it is a simple one.

I found out that most of you are not familiar with the song "Sing and Be Happy".  I remember the song as a favorite of the youth group at the church I attended in South Texas back in the late 1960s.

It has a fun melody with a short but powerful message.  The thought that it would make a short but powerful sermon came to my mind and so that's what I'll try and deliver to you this morning.

You'll probably note, as I did, that the song title sounds like we're going to discuss how to just skip through life.  Like when we were kids (I'll leave the age for that period up to you) we often dealt with our troubles by escaping reality.  We'd take ourselves to our "Special Place" and leave our troubles - for a while anyway.  Some people still do this (drowning their sorrows in booze, drugs, work, video games, etc.).

But, as you'll note today, escape isn't the answer.  Instead, it's remembering and refocusing

I'm going to sing the song "Sing and Be Happy" to you without regard for the proper timing of the melody so that we can focus on the message.

Please listen as carefully as you can and see if you don't hear God's message for properly dealing with life's adversities.

If the skies above you are gray,  You are feeling so blue,

If your cares and burdens seem great,  All the whole day thru,

There's a silver lining that shines  In the heavenly land,

Look by faith and see it my friend, Trust in his promises grand.

 

Often we are troubled and tired, Sick with sorrow and pain,

There are others living in sin Blest with earthly gain,

Take new courage we cannot tell What the morrow may bring,

When the dark clouds vanish away, Then your heart truly can sing.

 

Oft we fail to see the rainbow Up in heaven's fair sky,

When it seems the fortunes of earth Frown and pass us by,

There are things we know that are worth More than silver and gold,

If we hope and trust Him each day, We shall have pleasure untold.

 

Sing  and  be happy                      Press          on     to the goal,

Trust Him  who leads you,             He     will   keep your soul;

Let    all      be faithful,                   Look  to     Him and pray,

Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and be happy today.

What do you think?

You noted that the verses make us examine ourselves - and the lesson is found in the chorus.

The verses of the song remind us of our humanity.  We're prone to let circumstances determine how we feel, how we act and who others believe we are (via their observation of us).

We get confused as to why things are the way they are.  What did I do?  Where is the justice?

We get sick.

We get injured.

We become distraught.

We lose our sense of well being.

We lose loved ones.

We experience pain - at many levels.

We experience fear (for life, liberty, and/or loss)

The song's verses reflect our asking the questions "Why US?  Why not THEM?"

What should our response be?

Press on to the goal?  Trust Him who leads us?  Be faithful - looking to him and praying?  Praise him in song?

Does the song reflect God's instruction on how to react to controversy?  Do these instructions ignore our personal issues?  How can we be happy?  Praise him for what?

Now stop - and think carefully about what you know.

Recall what you know of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.  Try and relate that to you.  Compare your suffering to Christ's suffering.

I'll pause for a moment while you do.

God took what seems to be the greatest travesty of justice in the history of the world and used it to accomplish his greatest triumph - the salvation of man.  If the cruel and painful murder of the perfect Son of God, on a bloody cross at Calvary, amid a mocking crowd, can be explained - how much more can we trust God is accomplishing a valuable purpose through any adversity we face?

As children of God we can know that the adversity we face (or will face) is not in vain.  It will result in God's fulfilling a purpose - his purpose.  Some things are so important that God will interrupt our happiness in order to accomplish them.

Does this imply that we are abject pawns being abused by the whims of an uncaring Father?  No!  God truly loves us.

One of many places this is made evident in the bible is in Lazarus' resurrection story.  Recall how Jesus waited for Lazarus to die so that he could glorify God by raising him from the dead.

Even though Christ had advance knowledge of how the events would play out, and why, when he saw the sorrow of Lazarus' sister, Mary, what did he do?  In John 11:35 we read that "Jesus wept."

What a short but powerful message that when we hurt, God hurts also.

So we are left with 2 options in responding to adversity.  We can trust God to glorify himself through our adversity or we can focus on our loss and a purpose which we aren't yet equipped to decipher.

The chorus of the song preaches that we should trust God.  We should sing and be happy - pressing on to the goal.  We read in Philippians chapter 3 that we are to press on toward … the goal  to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Jesus Christ.

Trust Him who leads us.  He can and will keep our souls.

In John 3:35 we read "The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, …."

Who can snatch our soul from the hand of God?  Nobody.

Be faithful.  Look to God and pray.  In Romans chapter 12 we read : "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

God is in control.  Our pain is not in vain.  We need to be patient - knowing that God loves us - and be comforted in persistent communication with God through prayer.

We must lift our voices in praise to God, for in Ephesians, the first chapter, we read "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

Don't fail to praise God, our creator and Lord, for the blessing of salvation from an ever-lasting death.

Let's not let the circumstances of this world dictate who we are.  We are just passing through.  Let's keep our eye on the goal.

It can be difficult sometimes, but with understanding through the Holy Spirit, we can Sing and Be Happy by simply putting our trust in he who deserves it - our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let's wrap up the lesson with a verse from 2 Corinthians chapter 4 (verses 17 & 18).

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

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