Recently I was listening to some very old music—that of Barry McGuire. Barry McGuire is perhaps best known in popular culture from his 1965 hit Eve of Destruction, but I was listening to him sing with the (then) young trio The Second Chapter of Acts at the 1975 live concert To the Bride, the final rousing song from which was the song Doesn’t That Bible Say We Shall Overcome? (offered here for your listening pleasure). Suddenly, it occurred to me that they were singing about the Covid crisis.
Not consciously, of course. This was, after all, 1975. But the lyrics were directly applicable to our present situation. Barry sang about old Jonah being trapped down in the belly of a whale, waiting in darkness for deliverance; about Noah, helpless in the ark without a sail, waiting for the waters to subside. He sang about the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, waiting for release. He sang about Daniel in the lions’ den, waiting for a better day. That is, he sang about what we were now experiencing: we are Jonah, waiting for deliverance; we are Noah, waiting for the waters to subside. We are the Hebrew children in the furnace, and Daniel in the den of lions. They could do nothing except wait and pray, and that is all we can do. Then Barry asked, “Tell me, what’d they do when things got tough?” and then sang out the answer with defiant gusto: “They put their trust in Him”. They knew that God would never fail.
That is God’s word for us now as we wait for end of current plague. We shall overcome, either in this age or (for some who have tragically succumbed to the virus) in the age to come. Even in the midst of this painful waiting, we can remain serene and confident, knowing that the God who was with them is still with us today.
Musical nostalgia seems to be one of the dangers of aging. Playing my old Jesus Music (as we called it) for my children causes indulgent eye-rolling. Playing it for my grandchildren would cause smiling and stunned incomprehension. Musical styles change, but some things do not change. The faithfulness of God is one of them. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If we put our trust in Him, He will never fail. One way or another, we will overcome. Barry told me so.