Many of these songs on my list have a bittersweet quality to them. This is no different. This poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1864, during a period of grief after losing his wife in a house fire. The lyrics as true now as they were then. Some of the best art comes from depression and pain. The best version is sung by Burl Ives and was recorded in 1965.
Today we live in a world of sex trafficking, a world of wars that seem to have no rules of engagement. We live in a nation of leaders claiming that we are a Christian nation, yet act and make policies as if “God is dead or asleep.”, it seems to be a world without hope. A world filled to the brim with death, despair, and depression.
This whole past year could be summed up in these words:
And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men
Almost every day on the news we see a mass shooting here, a hate crime there, a president who divides rather than unites and a crooked church that backs him to the hilt and our heart aches. It seems that God is nowhere to be seen and many atheists and agnostics see this cruel world that “mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men” and say that they want nothing to do with it and flee the church and God.
Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does he sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men
This is the promise and hope we have In Jesus. Some people treat Jesus like He is a get out of Hell free card. But focusing on heaven or hell when it comes to Jesus is like talking about a wonderful sundae and talking about the cherry on top and missing the awesomeness of that sundae.
No, God saw a world in pain, a world filled with injustice and said “NO MORE!” He knew that we could not save ourselves so He became flesh. His word became manifest into a human being to live among us, work among us, teach us how to be fully human, to be the people we were meant to be before sin entered the world. He then died a painful and cruel death inflicted by men whose hate was strong. He did this for us. These men mocked the song that Jesus was singing. Yet death did not have the last laugh. The sting was gone. We as believers no longer are bound by sin and death.
And so good will prevail. Jesus uses His remnant to fight for justice, to speak out loud and deep like the bells of the song letting both the mockers and the haters know that “God is not Dead nor Does He Sleep.”
This speaks to a power stronger than any on the face of the earth. The Power of the Holy Spirit. One that will make sure that the wrong will fail.
It may seem hopeless right now but that is why as Christians we have to focus on the second part of the song and not let the first part paralyze us. Because that is what the enemy wants.