In the June 1st service at First Baptist Church, I didn’t sing any of the songs. No, it wasn’t a silent protest because of song selection. It was out of necessity.
I had struggled immensely with whatever allergens were unleashed during the month of May in our southwest Michigan area. A persistent cough had dogged me for three to four weeks. During one stretch, it was hard for me even to speak in a complete sentence because of the testy tickle and scratchiness in my throat.
I even thought of learning some basic sign language:
“I need a cup of tea.”
“I need more Halls lozenges at the store.”
“I need to breathe.”
You know, basic thoughts to convey.
I had even learned to unwrap a Halls in a groggy state in the middle of the night and suck on it safely while lying down. By the way, tropical fruit is the best flavor.
Back to the service. I knew I needed to keep silent in order to save my voice for the message, so my worship during the songs needed to take a different path. I listened to other voices singing. I meditated on the words of the songs. I asked myself: Are these lyrics true in my life? Is this what I believe about God?
“Standing on the promises I cannot fall / Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call”
“I will lift my eyes to the hills and their Creator / Who made all heaven and earth / For He watches me, never sleeps no never slumbers / He’s ever over me”
“All to Jesus I surrender / All to Him I freely give”
“I am on the battlefield for my Lord / And I promised Him that I would serve Him ’til I die / I am on the battlefield for my Lord”
The following week, I wondered if maybe sometimes it would be better for me not to sing during a worship service. What if I opted out of singing on one song and meditated fully on the Spirit-inspired lyrics? What if God spoke to me during a worship song while the church body blessed Him with united voice?
A few days later, thanks to a pharmacist friend of mine (and Benadryl), I have my voice back and my nagging cough is a distant memory. I’m also thankful that God reminded me that I can wait in silence for the Spirit’s call even if it’s not quiet around me.
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in him” (Psalm 62:5 ESV).