There the wicked cease from turmoil and the weary are at rest. Job 3:17
Have you ever been so tired it seemed as if you could not put one foot in front of the other? Are there days when you do not want to get out of bed?
Growing up in a Southern Baptist church the format of worship services was that the deacons of the church would stand before the congregation and start what was called devotion. Devotion was the prelude to the actual church service. The deacons started this part of the worship experience by singing, usually without musical accompaniment, a standard hymn. As a youngster I would be transported to another place in time, visualizing everything the song depicted, transfixed by the lone beat of the lead deacon’s foot against the floor. This singing was usually slow and solemn not like the upbeat choir music that would usher in the church service.
I was at a church revival when I first heard the song The Wicked Shall Cease From Troubling, penned by Jessy Dixon. It was nearing the end of an era when African American Gospel singers traveled the country, one venue at a time, singing praises to God. In those early days, choirs sang in churches, quartets and “groups” traveled about from city to city, church to church, one concert after another, singing praises to God. They used their own transportation and because of segregation laws when they were traveling the Southern highways and byways they were not welcome in mainstream hotels and restaurants. Many a day and night they would sleep in their cars and eat food cooked by the people of the churches they were visiting. There were times when they would leave one engagement, travel all night and sleep in the car to be ready for the next engagement. I remember feeling a sense of happiness upon hearing this tune because, no matter what was going on in my life at that point in time, with God on my side, everything was going to be alright.
As I look back on those days, I remember the joy on the faces of the various artists as they sang. Times were lean, the money was not that great and the concert engagements not that many. What kept them going was their faith and belief that there was rest at the end of life’s journey. That the weariness they felt and the injustices they had to traverse would be rewarded in the end. Much like Job, there might have been times when they questioned God as to why the road was rough, but never did they give up on the mission of spreading the Gospel.
I invite you follow the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ3p9hKez-c to listen to this uplifting tune. This video features the composer, Jessy Dixon, along with Dorothy Norwood and Edgar O’Neil singing lead vocals. Billy Preston is on the organ. The refrain is:
The wicked shall cease from troubling
The weary shall be at rest
All of the saints of the ages
Shall sit at His feet and be blessed