Misguided American Idol hopefuls aside, my dad has one of the worst singing voices I’ve heard. (Hang in there, Daddy; this story gets way better from here.) Unlike the deluded masses of wanna-be Kelly Clarksons or Clay Aikins, he knows it.
“I can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” he jokes. Or, “I am making a joyful NOISE unto the Lord.”
That’s right. Despite the fact that he was blessed with other, non-musical gifts, he sings every hymn and psalm and spiritual song he knows. Every time.
I have always loved big, loud, rocking worship. Drums banging, amps turned way up, worship team on point . . . I’m there with my hands raised, dancing a bit (or a lot), and belting out every note at the top of my lungs. I am thankful for the men and women who sacrifice their Sundays and hone their craft throughout the week to lead us in praise. And yet, the truth is, I have learned more about worship from my dad than any worship pastor or artist I know.
Psalm 100 Reads:
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
YES! The Lord is so good. He wants our gladness, joy, thankfulness, and praise. Whether you are blessed with an amazing set of pipes or are completely tone-deaf, HE wants to hear your voice!
As much as I love all the bells and whistles, I’m beginning to realize that God simply wants me to enter into His presence and connect with His heart. When I quiet my mind and engage in true worship, He meets me in that moment. I lay out an offering of praise and the Holy Spirit ministers to my heart, drawing me closer to Himself. Heaven meets earth.
The Father’s heart for worship washed over me one particular Sunday morning as I sat behind a good three rows of hearing-impaired believers. They made not a sound, but their hands shouted their love for Jesus, proclaimed His glory to all. “I hear their hearts,” God whispered to me. Yes, our hearts are all He wants, all He needs!
When emotions overtake me and my fair-to-middling alto diminishes to squeaks and croaks of praise, I praise on. When I am sick and can barely whisper, my worship overflows my heart and leaks out my eyes as I dance before Him, silently riding the wave of love flowing between us.
I wonder if my dad ever wishes he had a better voice. If he ever did, he never let on. He seems to just own it as one of the many ways that God made him unique. He instead cultivates his gifts of service, generosity, and hospitality, becoming an expert at loving people to the Lord by being ever-available to meet a need.
And when the time comes to offer up praise, he brings what he has: a voice, HIS voice, the one God gave him. And it is beautiful.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” (Psalm 98:4)