Over the course of my life, music has gotten me through several difficult moments. While in college, I developed an unhealthy pattern of drawing close to the Lord during the school year, then falling away over the summer. On any given day, I listened to a few hours of music. Whether I was running, studying or working out, the beat, lyrics and sound motivated me to press on. One of the songs that touched my soul in college was Hold On by Wilson Phillips. The following stanza helped me overcome the stress of college: “Don’t you know things can change. Things’ll go your way. If you hold on for one more day. Can you hold on for one more day. Things’ll go your way. Hold on for one more day.”
So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery], James 4:7-8.
When I became a high school Bible teacher I tried to incorporate music into my classes and lesson plans. Unfortunately, most of my music was archaic, out of date and wasn’t appealing to my students. After swallowing my pride, I began to search for modern artists that my students could relate to. One of my former students Evan introduced me to the group Stellar Kart. Although I didn’t have much disposable income back then, I searched the Sonshine House for discounted music. After losing my teaching job, I spent a month struggling to find a new one. The song that got me through this ordeal was Hold on to Jesus by Stellar Kart. While walking through un-charted territories, the Lord used this song to help me persevere.
But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast. 22 Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22.
Since the Coronavirus shut down professional sports in March, I have increased my time listening to music. During the week, I spend 5 hours a day minimum, listening to Christian music. Although I still struggle to find artists, groups and songs with a specific message and style, there is one song that gotten me through these months of social distancing. While listening to You Tube one night, I came across a spontaneous worship montage. Kari Jobe has a 19 minute video starting with Speak to Me before moving into the songs Defender and Closer. This worship medley has become a daily prayer for me, another way of Holding on to Jesus as the world tries to makes sense of COVID-19. May these songs touch you like they have inspired me to hold on when you feel like you can’t hold on any longer.
by Jay Mankus