By now you’ve probably seen the video of 7-year-old Amelia, the Ukrainian girl who sang “Let it Go,” from the movie, “Frozen,” in a crowded bunker in Kyiv several weeks ago.
While hiding from Russian bombs, she started singing nervously at first, but as she sang her voice became stronger, and the people in the bunker with her who had been talking became silent.
Amelia’s mother, Marta, posted the video to her Facebook page, and from there it went viral.
One of the writers of the song, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, saw it and tweeted: Dear Little Girl with the beautiful voice. My husband and I wrote this song as part of a story about healing a family in pain.
“The way you sing it ... spreads the light in your heart and heals everyone who hears it. Keep singing! We are listening!”
Another more recent video shows Ukrainian citizens joining with the Odessa National Academy Theatre Orchestra singing their national anthem outdoors.
What is it that inspires a person or a group of people to sing in the face of adversity? Maybe patriotism and love of country.
Certainly faith does.
Throughout history, the people who call themselves God’s people have faced adversity and turmoil and bitter trials with a song in their hearts.
A few years ago, when my youngest daughter was deep into an active heroin addiction and all that that entails, I, as her mother, was heartbroken, feeling helpless to help her.
In my most desperate moments, I would sing:
“Waymaker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness. My God, that is who You are.”
Or, “I cast all my cares upon You. I lay all of my burdens down at your feet. And anytime I don’t know what to do, I will cast all my cares upon You.”
I would sing: “All my life You have been faithful. All my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”
Whenever I felt especially despondent, I would sing: “Even when I don’t see it, You’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working. You never stop, You never stop working.”
The songs we sing when our hearts are heavy, when we’re under attack or feeling crushed by circumstances or sorrow, are different from the ones we sing when life works.
And there’s something powerful about singing words of faith, especially when faith feels like it’s being tested.
That’s often when God himself puts the words in our mouths, gives the very breath we need to sing.
My pastor often reminds us that not just Jews went to the Nazi death camps during World War II, but so did Christians who tried to hide the Jews. These same Christians, he says, sang hymns on their way to the gas chambers.
“Christians die, but we die differently,” I’ve heard my pastor say.
By that he means that we die in hope, a hope of an eternity with Jesus where there’s no more weeping, no more wars, no more want, no more pain or fear.
And so we live in hope and we sing with faith: “We will stand as children of the promise. We will fix our eyes on him (Jesus), our soul’s reward. ‘Til the race is finished and the work is done, we’ll walk by faith and not by sight.”
On my last day on earth, that’s the song I want to be singing.