All throughout Scripture we can see music being used to chase evil spirits away, confound armies in war, ignite zeal in God's people, comfort those in mourning, and to declare the mighty acts of God. In times of trials, I have found music to be one of the most beneficial things for my spirit. On that note, I thought I would share some (not all!) of my favorite songs for hard days. In the condensed list below, I pray you will be edified and spiritually strengthened through the beautiful gift He has given us in music.
Disclaimer: My endorsement of the songs below does not mean I fully endorse each artist. I am only listing songs that the Lord has used to encourage my heart, remind me of His faithfulness and ground me in the truth of His Word.
Drawn to You - Audrey Assad (Evergreen)
If I had to name one song that has been the defining theme of my heart, this would be it. The words are so powerful and rich that I had a complete sobbing meltdown on my bed the first time I listened to the song. When it's all said and done, will we still be drawn to Jesus? This song places affection where it's due. After everything I've had, after everything I've lost, Lord I know this much is true, I'm still drawn to You.
Faithfulness - Iron Bell Music (God That Saves)
I'm not all that familiar with Iron Bell Music but what little I have heard is superb. This song is obviously based on Lamentation 3:22-23. My favorite line is You’re the constant in a sea of change. What You’ve done and what You’ve said will never fade. The Lord is always faithful and on the hard days, when there are memories that seize my heart, it's good to be reminded of His steadfast love.
You Love Me Best - Ellie Holcomb (Red Sea Road)
When one of my precious friends at Church directed me to Ellie's album, Red Sea Road, it was played regularly throughout the rest of the year. This song is so comforting to a heart that has been hurt by people. And there may come a day when all other loves have gone away. When darkness hems me in, You'll be right where You have always been, closer than the heart within my chest because You loved me best.
Psalm 91 - Shane and Shane (Psalm II)
Quite possibly the most soothing song I've ever heard. The chorus says, And He will raise you up on eagles' wings, bare you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of His hand. Adapted from the 91st chapter in the book of Psalms, I can't tell you how many times I have put this song on repeat as I've fallen to sleep. When you are attacked or when you feel unsafe, you can find rest under the shadow of His wings.
Fear is a Liar - Zach Williams (Chain Breaker)
When I first heard this song, I was blown away. Remember this: Fear has a source and when fear is speaking, it cannot utter words of faith. This song confronts the lies and takes the mask off the father of those lies. Fear he is a liar. He will rob your rest, steal your happiness. Cast your fear in the fire because fear he is a liar.
Pursuit - Harvest (Preachers)
Over a span of a couple weeks, I felt numb inside. So I went hiking and listened to this one song the entire three hours. It is in no way a lyrical masterpiece, but the simplistic cry of Strip everything away till all I have is You grips my heart. In a season where I felt like I was caught between two worlds, Undo the veils till all I see is You put words to my feelings and it was words I need to hear regularly. Ultimately, the cry of every heart should be the chorus: I will pursue You, I will pursue Your presence
Jesus Sees - Meredith Andrews (Deeper)
My favorite name of God is El Roi which means, "the God who sees me." This song has been played over and over when I have felt shattered by grief, when I'm fighting for faith, and on the hardest of days. Remembering that He is near to the brokenhearted...He is faithful in every season....that regardless of how concealed my hurt may be to the world, Jesus sees. Praise God, He sees.
All That Lives Forever - Staffany Gretzinger (Blackout)
This song isn't particularly profound, but the very true words, All that lives forever is You has always stopped me in my tracks and reminded me that while Sometimes things break....sometimes stars fade, Jesus remains and that is the greatest reality we can have.
Night Song - Ellie Holcomb (As Sure As The Sun)
I love how Ellie captures the feelings and fears we are so prone to experiencing in times of darkness and pain. My favorite line in this song is, The voice that comforts all my sadness, oh, even when the suffering is long, be my night song. Zephaniah 3:17 says that God will quiet us with His love and rejoice over us with singing. Let this song be a reminder to tune your ear to His song as He calms your anxious heart in the seasons of night.
Find Me At the Feet of Jesus - Christy Nockles (Let it Be Jesus)
On hard days, sometimes all we can pray is "Oh God..." or "Help me, Lord." This song seems to carry the same feeling, pushing everything to the side and simply sitting at the Master's feet. The chorus say, Find me, find me at the feet of Jesus. Savior, find me with my heart bowed down. Find me on my knees, find me close to Thee, find me at the feet of Jesus.
Always Good - Justin Unger (Always Good)
It's hard to remember that God is always good when the days are hard and the nights are harder. When our life has been turned upside down, it's difficult to reconcile the omnipotence of God along with the goodness of God. But though Darkness may deepen and shadows may fall, the Lord will be faithful and true. No matter what, He is always good.
Jesus, Your Love - Kristene DiMarco (Mighty - Live)
When seasons change and stories end, Your steady love it will sustain me through it all. Jesus, Your love. Life brings uncertainty with it and sometimes when people fail us and life changes, the only hope and comfort we have is the truth that Jesus and His love will never be altered. That is a balm to my heart and what lifts my spirit in this beautiful and powerful song.
Carried to the Table - Leeland (Sound of Melodies)
If you're too weak to go to Jesus, the lyrics in this song by Leeland says we can be Carried to the table and swept away by His love. Are you swept away by the love of God, even on the painful days? This is a good song to play on an afternoon as you sit alone in your living room. In an atmosphere like that, I don't see my brokenness anymore and that's the beauty and power of God's presence piercing through our pain.
When I Lost My Heart to You - Hillson United (Empires)
Simple, yet powerful. We too easily allow our hearts to be lost to people, things, memories, ideals - Oh but Hallelujah! I found Your love when I lost my heart to You. I can waste so much energy pursuing false loves that can never satisfy. But when we are overpowered and consumed with the love of Christ, we have found where joy is, we have found peace, we have found strength and we have found real, amazing love.
Praise Before My Breakthrough - Bryan & Katie Torwalt (Praise Before My Breakthrough)
I remember when I spent two years praying fervently for something and I desperately wanted a breakthrough. In my mind, the "breakthrough" was me getting the object of my prayer. I vividly remember my Dad saying, "Regardless of the outcome, you still have victory." I didn't understand that then, but I do now. The breakthrough is when our kingdom dies so His kingdom can come. So on the hard days, be encouraged and say to the Lord, I will sing because I trust You. I will bring my heart. I will lift my song. He is worthy of our praise....
Fighting Words - Ellie Holcomb (Red Sea Road)
For when you need some cheer and some "oomph", this song is a good one. John Piper made a profound statement when he wrote, "We get into more trouble by listening to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves." This song reminds me to tell myself whatever is true... Fight the lies with the truth. Keep my eyes fixed on You. I will sing the truth into the dark. I will use my fighting words.
Fearless - Mia Fields (Ashes)
Fear lives in the unknown. And when we experience pain, every fear our minds can create comes rushing to the surface. I love this song and the reminder that we are victorious through Jesus. My favorite is the end which says, No fear in the crashing waves. No fear when the cost is great. No fear in the midnight hour. You've given me a spirit of power. Along with power, we have also been given a sound mind and the ability to love. So walk fearless, friend.
Take Courage (Live) - Kristine Dimarco, Bethel Music (Starlight - Live)
When a friend directed me to this song, I couldn't stop listening to it. Don't be weary in the seasons of waiting, wondering if God is going to come through. Don't sink into despair or question His love or His plan. Don't get angry at Him. Remember, He will be faithful to work all things together for our good and His glory. The thoughts in His mind, always higher than mine, He'll reveal all to come. Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He's in the waiting...He's never failing
My Worth is Not in What I Own - Keith & Kristyn Getty (Facing a Task Unfinished)
Remember - always remember - that your worth, your peace, your very life is held in the hands that bled for you. In your glorious days of happiness and in your dark days of sorrow, you can (and should!) find joy in Jesus because He holds it all, sees it all, and loves you with an everlasting love. This song has become dear to me and I pray - through good times and bad - that we can sing, I rejoice in my Redeemer, greatest Treasure, Wellspring of my soul. I will trust in Him, no other. My soul is satisfied in Him alone.