I have a question for you. If you are a Christ follower, when does God want to hear you sing?

There’s a contemporary gospel song with the following lyrics:

Their chains were fastened tight,

Down at the jail that night,

Still Paul and Silas would not be dismayed.

They said, “it’s time to lift our voice, sing praises to the Lord.

Let’s prove that we will trust him, come what may.”

Recently, I listened as a dear Christ follower sang these words in Sunday morning worship service. As the words flowed from her heart, though she suffers much pain from rheumatoid arthritis, it’s easy to see she has chosen to sing praises to the Lord, come what may.

Since that morning in worship service, my mind has gone back to three specific times in my own life that were very difficult. Times of suffering. Times when I was faced with the decision as to whether I was going to sing or not, come what may.

When our first child, Katie, was delivered stillborn, I was 28.

For several days after her funeral, I closed the blinds in my home and rocked in a rocking chair all day long. The hopes and dreams I had held in my heart for our first child had been shattered. Along with the disappointment, I felt crushed and I was mad at God because he had allowed this to happen.

After all, I was walking with him hand in hand.

Though Dave and I did not understand why God didn’t intervene for us and save Katie’s life, we knew we had to trust him. He had given his life for us on the cross and, ultimately, we knew he could see the big picture of all the circumstances of our lives and Katie’s life that we could not.

It took eight months and a trip to Israel for me to be able to sing, come what may, again.

The song continues:

He loves to hear our praise on our cheerful days

When the pleasant times outweigh the bad, by far.

But when suffering comes along

And we still sing him songs

That is when we bless the father’s heart.

Another difficult time for me was when the flood of 2008 destroyed our home here in Columbus. Our house had 39 inches of water and sludge in it. All inside walls, floors and belongings ended up on the driveway and hauled away by dump trucks. I remember being grateful that we were able to keep the ceilings.

At the time of the flood, I was busy caring for my husband Dave and working at my counseling office several hours a week. Dave was in Stage 4 of Alzheimer’s disease, so I had to make all the decisions in the rebuilding of our house.

I had my hands full and then some. I also had a choice to make. The question was, “Am I going to sing or not, come what may?” I decided I was going to trust God and rely on him and sing, yes, I chose to sing, as difficult as it was, come what may.

The last difficult time I will mention was in 2013 when Dave passed away from the disease that had wracked his brain the last six years. We had been married 36 years. Again, as difficult as it was, I chose to sing, come what may.

Here is the answer to the question I asked at the beginning of today’s column, “When does God want to hear you sing?”

God wants to hear you sing

When the waves are crashing round you

When the fiery darts surround you

When despair is all you see.

God wants to hear your voice

When the wisest man has spoken

Says, “your circumstance is as hopeless as can be.”

That’s when God wants to hear you sing.

Often, I use music in my counseling practice to encourage and help bring healing to people who are going through the difficult times of suffering, of emotional pain and hardship. If you are not one of these hurting people, today, you may someday be.

I’d like to encourage you to read Acts 16:22-25, then go to youtube.com, search Vonda Beerman and listen to “God Wants to Hear You Sing.” I think you will be strengthened and maybe, just maybe, you will receive an unexpected blessing.

Nita Evans of Columbus is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or by visiting specialspeaker.com.