Hear It Differently

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!

Have you ever listened to a song you’ve heard a thousand times before (you know the ones: they’re on the radio, friends hum them while they work, and your kids even sing a phrase or two here and there), but one time when you’re listening, you think, “Wow! I’ve never paid attention to those words before! Has that always been the line?”

That happened to me this past Sunday. To be more specific, it happened to me several times. You see, I’m a worship leader. And the set that was planned for my service that morning was one full of trusty favorites. Several of them I’d been singing for years, one is a newer song I’ve sung at one service or another every week since Christmas, and the set also included one song I helped write (I wrote a bit about that here). But all of a sudden, these songs were falling on fresh ears. Thankfully, it wasn’t in a “forgot all the words” sort of way, but a “never thought about it that way before” sort of way.

For example, we sang Paul Baloche’s arrangement of the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. While it’s a hymn that I grew up singing, and I know almost every word by heart, for some reason, I heard the words anew. This verse: And when I think that God His Son not sparing/sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in/ that on the cross, my burden gladly bearing/He bled and died to take away my sin. I mean, that’s crazy! God sent His very Son to take our sins. Jesus gladly bore them for us on the cross, because he knew it would save us. Who wouldn’t sing about that?

Or in Hillsong’s “Oceans”, it was this part in the bridge: Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander/and my faith will be made stronger/in the presence of my Savior. Being in the presence of my Savior will be what strengthens my faith. I could have that reminder again and again, and it would convict me every time. Oh, you of little faith, enter into His presence, and that little faith will grow.

I have this same experience reading the Bible a lot. I’ll flip through pages, and read something I’ve read a hundred times before. But every time, I read it differently. Maybe it’s that my perspective has shifted, due to life circumstances. Maybe it’s that the Lord is showing me something new about a particular passage. Maybe it immediately leads me to think of a friend who needs to hear those exact words. Whatever it is, when I allow myself to be open to hearing something new, the Lord almost always gifts me that very thing: a new light shining through an old passage. Or through the music I think I know like the back of my hand: I notice a word or phrase that will change the entire song and how it speaks to my heart.

So here’s the hard part, the part it’s easy to talk about but not as easy to do. Get rid of those pre-conceived notions. Lose the filter through which you might be tempted to see. Open your eyes, your ears, your heart. Don’t be afraid of what you might hear; it might just be the thing that changes your mind.

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