By the Rivers of Babylon !
Psalm 137 was written by a group of singers who were captured from their country and taken as slaves. Their new masters - the army, people of Babylon - asked them to sing some songs of Zion (or Israel) and the response was this song.
How do you sing the songs of joy when you are depressed? Songs celebrating the love of God while you feel let down or neglected? How can you put on a happy face, when all you could do is to try not to break down before every one? How could we smile when all we want to say is: Why God? Why me? Why now? Why this? And for the rest of the world and ourselves, we have no answers. No strength to sing the songs of Zion in Babylon.
Its amazing how true this captures moments of desolation in our lives. The psalm in fact does not explain or give any encouragement. It simply seems to make you cry - just break down and lament.
Yes. Desolation, loneliness, and sorrow are not new. And while God does not necessarily say why this happens, He does want us to know that He sees our broken spirit - and understands the pain of our hearts. So much so that, as a record, He did inspire this song.
God knows my sorrow. He knows why I feel depressed, angry, upset, and soooo.. alone. I don't see Him drying my tears - but I hear this song.. By the Rivers of Babylon... We sat down and wept - and God being faithful, hears my crying and my anguish.
God knows me. God hears me. God sees my tears. And God loves me.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill .
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.