I was watching a well known TV preacher. He wasn’t at his home church; apparently he was making a tour, speaking to what appeared to be thousands of people. It was an excellent message, but I found myself startled when, at certain points of his message, the audience broke into spontaneous applause. I go to a very conservative church and we don’t applaud during a service – so each time it happened my mind had to adjust to the novelty. What I noticed was that the people were applauding various mentions of the Lord Jesus, and what He has done for us all, and how much He loves us, and how much we are all hoping for His soon coming again. It was heart-warming and I felt myself encouraged to hear the love for the Lord being spontaneously reflected in the hearts of all those people all at the same time. We are a united body – we who love the Lord, and who name His name. Their applause was like a piece of music to me – praise and worship and gratitude all rolled up in one. It wasn’t something I was used to, but it was respectful and came from a spirit of unity and love for the Lord. Who could object?
A few times I have been in crowds like that pastor was addressing. I especially remember one huge conference sponsored by the International Christian Medical Society which I attended with my husband. People had come from many different nations to this conference to hear the famous speakers. Before the speaking started, the audience was asked to sing a few hymns. They sang glorious old hymns which most of us had learned through Inter-Varsity: strong, stirring hymns of faith and the glory of God, hymns like “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name”. Most of the audience were men, and there were several thousand people. The music began, and the singing was so wonderful it sent shivers down my spine – thousands of voices raised in those inspiring old hymns, and in wonderful harmony, all in praise of our God. No guitars, no percussion or syncopated rhythms – just an old fashioned, but magnificent organ, and all those voices. To be a part of that music alone was worth the trip to get there – the speakers after that were just the icing on the cake! Another time, our church participated in a mass choir for a denominational event – all the choirs in the area sent their choirs to join in this one huge choir and we sang glorious music by Bach, Mendelssohn and Handel. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
You need to understand: I was a singer. All my life I have been identified as a “singer”. I sang on children’s radio programs as a child; I sang in all the musical groups in all my schools; I attended college on a music scholarship. Eventually I was a mezzo-soprano soloist who was sometimes invited to sing at other churches than my own. Now my voice is completely gone. There are occasionally echoes of what used to be, but usually I can just barely get through even simple hymns. I miss being able to sing. Sometimes it is hard to remember what used to be and know that it can never be again. I had felt it was my one gift and now I can’t offer it to the Lord any more, other than the music in my heart.
As I watched the TV service, all these memories of the role of music in my life came flooding back and I began to think about what it might be like in heaven. To tell you the truth I have never been able to wrap my mind around heaven very well. It seems so much more than I can comprehend, that I have just decided I will wait until I get there and be surprised! We are told that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the mind of man been able to conceive all that God has prepared for us, so it seems pointless to speculate very much. However, we have been given hints. I know there will be singing.
In considering heaven, I think about the fact that I will be able to sing again. I mean, really sing! All our infirmities and limitations will be gone, and I will be a part of a vast choir of believers whose praise for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will ring out; millions of voices singing the glory of our God. Can you imagine the sound: millions of perfect voices in perfect harmony?
That further led me to realize that Christian Women Online is a little like a vast choir of women: all of us from various places and styles of worship – yet all united in our love for the Lord Jesus Christ. We struggle together to get our parts right, encouraging each other, sharing our problems and trying to give encouragement, but still all united in our faith. We might express it in different ways, but we all hold to the same truth: that we are saved by grace, through no merit of our own, and that it is all a gift from God. That we love Him, and want to live lives which glorify Him and reflect His grace to the world around us, and sing His praise together. We can say, each in our hearts, how much we love Him and look for His soon return! We can rejoice in this warmth of our love for one another, because of Him, and in His name – and know that because of Him we are not alone. We have Him, and we have each other, and instead of music rising, we make music with our blogs and our words – all to His glory and praise. I don’t need to miss my singing voice – I am still in a huge choir of praise to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – all in cyberspace! What a world!