I can remember that I always enjoyed singing as I grew up. It was back in the days that we had a time set aside for music during the school day, where we mostly learned patriotic and folk songs. As a teenager, I spent hours singing along with the record player or radio, using a hairbrush as a microphone (pre-Karaoke days). I sang for a while in the church youth choir, and I had the opportunity to sing with a group from NORD for some political and holiday events.
As an adult, I sang in the church choir for about 15 years, and was privileged to sing with a ladies ensemble. There was a great sense of community that formed with the others in these groups. Now, I don’t kid myself – my voice is average on a good day. But I can generally match a pitch and sometimes find the harmony. Thankfully, scripture doesn’t say anything about being on key, just that we should make a joyful noise. That, I can do.
Recently, as we sang a particular song in church, I was struck by the lyrics – that my soul was to sing. Now, I think soul singing is a little different from regular vocal singing. Both should be directed to God in worship, praise and thanksgiving. But, unlike vocal signing, soul singing has nothing to do with my physical ability to match a pitch or harmonize. Soul singing goes beyond my physical ability. It’s something everyone is capable of. Soul singing is a matter of me submitting myself to God and being able to rejoice, regardless of the circumstances or what He has decreed for my life. It’s not a matter of physical ability; it’s a matter of surrender and trust when you can’t see what lies ahead. And it’s a matter of being at peace with the not knowing, even to the point that you can sing in the midst of an uncertain future.
Not only is my soul capable of singing, the lyrics of the song said that my soul would sing like never before. This is what struck me. I want my soul to sing like it has never sung before! I’ve felt my soul sing when I’ve had spiritual highs and victories. I’ve felt my soul mourn when I’ve been in the valley and felt defeated. But now I want my soul to sing like never before! No matter what trouble I’ve seen yesterday or today. No matter what monsters haunt my thoughts for the future. My soul can still sing! And I want my soul to sing like never before to the glory of the one and only true God because He has created me and redeemed me and sustains me. And most of all simply because He is deserving of all praise.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O my soul, worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Ps. 103:1