‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley describes a faith that is maintained in difficult circumstances. The song touches on physical and mental slavery, nods to the struggle for civil rights, and the songwriter at the time of writing had been diagnosed with cancer and was facing his own mortality. ‘Redemption Song’ was not in Bob Marley’s usual style and yet it is arguably one of his best works because of its universal appeal.
Growing pains are not confined to the young, we can face them at any stage of life. In this case when facing up to the possibility of death. How much more does the promise of redemption mean when brought into stark focus through the lens of illness? How much more does the certainty of a God who is just and faithful mean?
It’s easy to praise the Lord and extol him with all of our hearts when things go well. The true test of faith is doing the same thing when we face the unpleasant, the stressful and the things that we can do absolutely nothing to change, like a terminal illness. To quote one strong and faithful woman facing this situation “We can’t always choose or control what happens to us in life but we can decide how we deal with it”. She chose to count her many blessings and to remember that a constant and never ending source of support was always just a prayer away.
To quote the song “none but ourselves can free our minds”, we have free will and we can choose what we focus our life on. Our faith is forged in troubles, not in the easy, happy times. We get to know the Lord best when we need him most.
Lord, I won’t ask you to make all my days easy
I won’t even ask for most of them to be like that
The beginning of wisdom would really be a help though
I do delight in your works
In the faith that sustains your people through troubles
In the never ending grace and compassion you offer
And at the end, in your redemption
1 Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures for ever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant for ever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant for ever –
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.