When the Song is Gone

What do you do when the usual ways you hear from God go silent? My friend, Donna Fagerstrom, shares a poignant and personal story of how she coped with God's surprising rearrangement of his presence in her days.


When the Song is Gone

By Donna Fagerstrom

My mom believed I had musical potential. By age ten, she began sending me to a voice coach. While I don't remember everything from my coach, I will never forget the wise words, "Donna, whatever you sing, make sure the lyrics are true in your own life." That was quite a lesson for a preadolescent. Yet, I learned it well. I remember as if it was yesterday singing my first solo in the sanctuary of our 400 seat church. Scared to death, I sang the inspired hymn, "How Great Thou Art." As I sang the ancient words, the crowd seemed to disappear and I could only see the powerful words I was singing as my teacher's words echoed in the background, "make sure the lyrics are true."

Over the years, I have brought the lesson of living-the-lyrics into countless times of corporate worship. Leading others into God's presence to hear his message through the words of a song inspired by godly writers is transformational. There is nothing like inviting others into a holy place of hope and help. That is where God does the unusual. My voice teacher was right. Lyrics matter.

But, what happens when the song is gone? Where do I go when God's voice is distant, and the memory of sacred song disappears? When the lyrics seem anything but true?

I will never forget the summer when my mama passed away. She struggled for eleven months with horrid cancer treatments in order to attend our only daughter's wedding. Mom was determined to not miss the biggest day in our family's life. Cancer would not keep her away. Chemo and God's grace would bring her to that moment of great joy, to be present at the wedding just three weeks before her death.

After her death, I had no song. It was an agonizing time of silence. I was shocked when I turned the radio on and found the music there made my grief somehow more difficult. I could not listen to my once favorite soothing tunes. The lovely lyrics that had been so important to my daily life were minimized to faint memories.

I soon learned that God wanted to do something new in my life. He wanted to speak to me in a way that I had never heard him before. He wanted to lead me on a silent journey. It took months. Yes, the song was gone, but God wasn't. He was there. I needed to meet him in a new, fresh, authentic and different way. He spoke, I listened. And now, the song is back, richer and deeper than ever before.

God gave me great peace and joy through a tough time in a way I never expected. He did the unusual. That is just what God does because he knows how to get through to us.

Are you ready for a fresh connection with God? Are you ready for a new way for God to speak, whether softly or loudly ... with a song or a still quiet voice? Simply ask. Then listen.

Donna Fagerstrom has spent a life of ministry in music, worship and discipleship, while serving for over 40 years, mostly in pastoral ministries. She has written numerous devotionals which are published in a variety of resources. In 2010 Donna received "The Woman of Influence Award" from Cornerstone University. She recently relocated to Dallas with her husband, who is the CEO of Marketplace Chaplains. Her family, friends and prayer are the loves of her life.

© Elisa Morgan 2020

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