The shadow of adversity is cast over all of us in our mortality. It happens to everyone. But there are things that we can do to help us remember that there is hope, and that the shadow will not last any longer than we sometimes let it. One of those things that helps us hear the Spirit of God is through listening to music, specifically, music inspired from scripture, otherwise known as hymns. It is not a cure all, but it does help to instantly inspire good thoughts.

mormon-choirThe purpose of hymns is to inspire and uplift. We sing them aloud in our congregations to give praise to our Heavenly Father. If we put aside our worldly thoughts and give our full attention to the words being sung and the melody of the music, we will invite the Spirit into our hearts to bring us comfort and joy. Hymns can often strike a chord in our souls that can be a source of revelation to us individually. We may not initially know how our innermost thoughts can impact us until we hear a hymn that resonates deep within us. We are moved spiritually and often, this moves us enough to follow our thoughts into positive deeds.

Even if we don’t speak the original language that the hymn may be written in, since music is a universal language, just knowing that the intent behind the hymn is supposed to stir us spiritually, we can still feel the uplifting effects nevertheless. For instance, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (dubbed affectionately as “America’s Choir”) has performed worldwide and everywhere they have toured they have received acclaim from people of all ages, diverse cultures, and varying religious traditions.

The hymns written after the Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons) are there for us to remember the sacrifices of those that came before us and their dedication (despite persecution) to never betray the truths of their faith. Even in these hymns, we empathize with their struggles, and hope to glean the faith they must have had to overcome the adversity they faced. They are survivor stories, and they are meant to inspire us to keep the faith that our Savior, Jesus Christ is always with us.

Every time I feel the shadow of adversity lingering over me in my daily life, I listen to the following hymn.

The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
By day and by night his presence is near.
He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.

The Lord is my light;
He is my joy and my song.
By day and by night he leads,
He leads me along.

The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
Then how can I ever in darkness remain?

The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I’ll conquer at length.

The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
There is in his sight no darkness at all.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
With Saints and with angels his praises I’ll sing.

Text: James Nicholson, 1828-1876
Music: John R. Sweney, 1837-1899

No matter how distraught I am, if I take a few moments to listen to that hymn, I am always uplifted. The words are all there for me to repeat as a prayer, even if when I am at a loss for words. As I mentioned before, just listening to a hymn doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps to guide me to a clear path to be able to form a solution. Whatever may cloud my judgment or cast a shadow over the hope of a resolution, when I accept that hymn into my heart, I feel the comfort of the Spirit of God, and I feel blessed.

For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads. (D & C 25:12)

Do you have to be Mormon to appreciate the hymns and reap in the benefits they can provide? Of course not! However, I do invite you to attend a Sacrament Meeting to really be able to feel the impact of one of our hymns sung by the voices of those that belong to our faith and live by its precepts. Or, you could probably borrow a CD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the music section at your local public library. Everyone has their favorite hymns, I look forward to hearing what some of yours could be.

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