Posted by: kathryngraves | July 3, 2012

Sing for Joy

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Psalm 5:11

I love to sing. My whole life has revolved around sing in some form. My parents told me, and I have a vague memory of it, I sang my first solo in church at the age of five in the Christmas program. I was off-key from the very first note of Away in the Manger, and never got on key through the whole song. I stayed in the children’s programs at church, which involved singing on occasion. My parents both sang well and so did many of their friends. We would gather at Christmas each year to carol around the neighborhood, ending at our home for a Christmas Eve buffet. As a teen, I joined the church youth choir as we performed musicals. I also sang in the school choirs. Even in college I took voice lessons and sang in the university choir. As an adult, I sing in the church choir and praise team and sometimes lead the children’s choir.

My husband, on the other hand, cannot carry a tune. When he was youth minister early in our marriage, the kids told him he sang “bucketto” because he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket! Once, while preaching a revival, the music leader for the week, Stafford, conspired with the sound man to secretly record Bo singing during the congregational songs. On the last night, after a whole week of teasing back and forth, Stafford asking Bo to sing a solo and Bo threatening to do it, Stafford announced at the beginning of the service that Bo would sing a solo. Bo was taken back, but thought ahead to what he could sing, and keyed up for the challenge. To his surprise, the auditorium filled with the sound of his voice singing a hymn from earlier in the week. Everyone cracked up laughing, including Bo. Stafford and his family became dear, life-long friends after that week twenty years ago.

Singing means different things to different people, but everyone recognizes singing for joy. It doesn’t require any training, perfection, or even an audience other than God. It pours from the heart in unashamed, pure praise.

When God has spread His protection over us, it arouses this kind of joyful, musical response. Even when we’re in the pit of suffering. In fact, times of suffering bring to the surface our need for refuge in God. We’re more aware of our need for Him than when everything in our lives moves in a smooth fashion. Joy and suffering are not usually equated in our minds, and may not be experienced together at first. But after a while, the only way to look is up and we see the wings of God over us. And then we sing.

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