By the rivers of Babylon is a Psalm1 that was originally sung by prisoners of hope.
To the people taken captives and in exile, to a people who had nothing to look forward to or hope for, God spoke through Prophet Jeremiah asking them not to lose heart but to work with all their hearts in the land of their captivity:
But what means this song to you and me today?
One, it is a message of present opportunity. And it is a clear call to you today as well: Do not look back at lost opportunities and wasted years in life. Instead do what you find to do right now with all your heart and strength. Do it with enthusiasm.
Two, there is promise of God’s help in the midst of hopelessness. The message is that God has not forgotten you even though he has disciplined you. He is compassionate.
Third, God has plans for your life. Even though circumstances of today seem to restrict you, do whatever your hands find to do to the best of your ability.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”2
Yes, there is a future for you. It doesn’t matter how others have tried to make you feel despair, useless, and as having no worth; God will reverse your fortunes once again.
Above all, there is a time God has appointed for the fulfilment of his gracious promise to you. Wait patiently in hope till then.
Therefore do not yield to despair. Instead connect with God. There is no one else who can repair the smudges on the canvas of your life like he can. He listens when your heart sighs in despair and feeling of hopelessness. For,
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.3“
Now listen to the song once again: It was the voice of despair of a people taken captive in war: “Now how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” It was the cry of broken hearts!
But that was what the captors demanded. “Sing,” they had said. 2500 years later, the very words of lamentation of a people in exile and captivity expressing their inability to sing have conquered the world as a song of hope.3
1 Psalm 137 Bible
2 Jeremiah 29:11
3 Psalm 34:18
Note: Boney M song ends with the words of another Psalm, Psalm 19.