Yesterday, as my mom and I traveled down the road, I decided to play some Elvis gospel for her. It’s funny how we could both remember the words to those songs we haven’t heard in years. We found ourselves “Crying in the Chapel” even though there was “Peace in the Valley” as we beckoned “Swing Down Sweet Chariot”.
But then Elvis began to croon a song that took me back to high school. Rick Smith, our church’s youth minister, had formed a chorus of junior high and high school students. Some of us could sing, but others like me just tried our best to match pitch with the ones who could actually hit the right notes. We practiced and learned enough songs to take our show on the road. Our little tribe of musical misfits traveled from church to church on Sunday nights literally singing for our supper. The food was definitely the best part of the night – for everyone.
Our grand finale was a song we all loved, “Where No One Stands Alone”. To end the night’s performance Rick would turn to face the audience and sing his tenor solo. His voice melted the hearts of little old ladies and brought tears to grown men’s eyes. However, on one particular night, Rick was sick but knew the show must go on. He didn’t know if he could hit the high note at the end of the night, so he told us to keep our eyes on him and just keep singing if he didn’t turn around. We only had one girl who could come anywhere near hitting that note, and she agreed to give it a whirl if she had to.
Rick mouthed most of the words that night trying to save his voice for the end. We sang better and louder than usual trying to make up the difference. After introducing the last song, he faced us and flashed a big toothy smile that said, “I think I can.” We began singing “Once I stood in the night with my head bowed low, in the darkness as black as could be…” When we neared his solo, he smiled a softer smile, folded his hands together as if to say, “Pray” and he turned to face the audience. Big grins broke out on our faces as he bellowed out, “Take my hand. Let me stand where no one stands alone.” The audience rose to their feet, Rick bowed, and we learned a great lesson in perseverance and having each other’s backs.
In Psalm 40, David testifies to God putting a new song of praise in his mouth after lifting him out of the muddy pit. He had kept his eyes on God and trusted Him even when it felt like God had turned His back. What has God done for you lately? Has He delivered you from a bad situation? Has He empowered you with strength or courage you didn’t know you had? Has He placed a gritty determination in you when you felt like giving up? Don’t stay silent, bellow out that high note of praise! Flash that toothy smile, and give Him all the credit for everything good in your life. Sing your song of praise to those around you. God IS good!
“Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.”
(Psalm 96:1-6, NIV)