I remember the day I quit church choir. I was a young lad who loved lots of things, but singing in a group was not one of them. My parents made me turn my song book in to Karen, the lady-in-charge, and explain why I was no longer going to be a member. To this day I still believe she breathed deeply, a sigh of relief that I was gone, not one of disappointment that I was leaving; but regardless, I was FREE!
Much to the dismay of all those around me, I now love to sing. I take Psalm 98:4 to heart. It says, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” That’s the KJV for you. I love to sing praise and rejoice, and I do so loudly (as I do most things, partially because I’m a little deaf). The point of contention comes with the word “joyful” used to describe the noise. When I sing, I am joyful. The noise I make, I make out of joy; I just don’t know that “joyful” is the adjective anyone listening would use to describe my singing (they may prefer “painful”). “All the earth” prescribes that everyone sing praises to God together, but some surely feel that I should make my “joyful noise” in solitude. I’m thankful that God doesn’t judge based on voice; I can only imagine the condemnation I would receive, in the voice of Simon Cowell, if that were the case.
I tend towards the NIV which states, “Shout for joy to the LORD,” or the NASB which reads, “Shout joyfully to the LORD.” I feel each of these captures the essence of the verse most appropriately. I can do that; I am perfectly capable of that. Because of the joy I have, I will shout. I love singing to the King and, while several additional years as a choir-member would have been greatly beneficial to the ears of many, I know God hears my song and knows my heart. It is such a blessing to be able to join with other believers, fellowship together, and sing praises to the God who loves us so extravagantly. I had that opportunity twice this past Sunday, and it was a complete blessing.
Anyways, that was all background information.
When I was still knee high to a grasshopper, having recently become a hardcore, church choir dropout, I made a unique and challenging personal commitment, kept secret until this very blog post. I decided that it was dumb for a person to sing words in church that they did not know or did not truly mean.I decided flat-out, that I was not going to have any part in that. It started when I heard that we were bringing forth the “royal diadem,” only I had no idea what that was or where we were supposed to find it. Ever since that day, I have steered clear of singing words I did not know. Instead of blindly following suit, I want to know what I am singing, and only sing what I mean. The end goal of all corporate worship is to bring glory to God through our fellowship together with Him, not to assimilate with a crowd at a social convention.
This commitment has brought a lot of good. I have done a lot of research over the years which has grown my vocabulary and understanding in several instances. I have learned to pay close attention to word usage and sentence structure. I have learned to discern when a song (or words in a conversation or text) are not in line with my faith. It
As a child, I never accounted for the possibility of traveling to places with varied cultures with varied languages. Thankfully, however, I have stuck with my commitment and, in both Mexico and Puerto Rico, it has helped (forced) me to learn a lot through song.
Here is one of the songs I learned last summer that has meant a great deal to me. The chorus goes like this:
Mi refugio en la tormenta
Mi fuerza en el desierto
Mi padre en mi soledad
Mi fuente en mi sequedad
God is not some far off deity that we are to call on in desperate times. Instead, He is loving and compassionate, in pursuit of our hearts. He desires relationship with us. When we experience His love and feel his embrace, we are able to shout joyfully to Him, despite our worldly circumstance.
He’s my shelter when the storms of life hit hard. He’s my refuge when a loved one dies, when relationships are broken, when the car won’t start, when an unexpected bill comes in the mail, when I’m injured or hurting. He’s my fortress, always. He’s my strong tower.
He’s my strength when I am tempted, as Jesus was in the desert. His power is shown to be perfect in my weakness. His Word upholds me. He is strong and mighty.
He’s my Father when I feel lost, depressed and forlorn, surrounded but alone. He has provided me with comfort and peace that surpass all understanding. He raised me up. He calls me son. He adopted me into His great family, and groups me now as a co-heir with Christ. I am His, and He is mine.
He’s my fount during the dry spell. Though there is drought in all the land, He meets my every need (abundantly). He is the never ending source of refreshment and renewal. When I seek Him, I find Him, no matter the season. He’s the true fount of living water, and my cup runs over.
God is good, all the time.
If you don’t know Jesus, get to know Him; allow Him to transform your life today.