A Peculiar Fear of Singing

I have always been nervous when it comes to singing in public.  God has gifted a great many people in a variety of ways, and the Scriptures tell us that some are given to mission work, others to teaching and preaching, and still others have the gift of music.  My particular set of spiritual gifts, however, do not include song.  When it comes to music, I should probably stick to listening.  

Normally I am okay with this reality.  When I hear a song that I like on the radio for example, I make sure the car windows are rolled up before I belt out a tune while driving down the road.  This is for the benefit of those around me in the other cars, as well as any innocent pedestrians that may be out walking when I drive by.  You can thank me for this later.

Recently my son's Webelos Cub Scout den was challenged to fulfill a unit entitled 'Duty to God and You.'  It sounded fun, so I offered to lead the kids in this area.  The boys and I had to create, plan, and perform a worship service in public.  Things were going well, but I did notice there was one part of the service that included music.  

After laying out the sermon message and some other small details, I looked around for people who possessed some type of singing voice - at least a better voice than I had.  To my chagrin, there was no one to be found.  For this moment in time, it was up to me to lead the song in front of a room full of people.  Though I rather enjoy public speaking, I have to admit I was apprehensive about the singing.  This would be something new for me ... there was no turning back now.   

Although insignificant by comparison with the many other things going on in the world today, this anxiety reminded me what it is like to have to trust that things will work out okay.  Whether you are leading a song in front of an audience, or doing something else for which you feel under-qualified - there remains a trust issue at the heart of the matter.  We all have a choice whether we will allow fear to lead us into anxiety, or not.  

I also believe it is a fair question to ask what the Bible says about the need to trust God and  hope that things will work out for the best (even if it doesn't feel that way at the time).  We are given a curious Scripture in the book of Romans.  It says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Rom 8:28).     

There is quite a bit to unpack in that one sentence, and we will address it shortly.  But I want to throw in another relatively famous piece of advice from the book of Proverbs.   It reads, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding." (Pr 3:5).  

I am beginning to sense a theme here.  Are you?  We are to trust in the one who made us.  The one who created everything wants us to know that we are loved, and we are to rest in the knowledge that if we allow him to, he will guide us to a place of safety.  But what about when things do not appear to be going so well?  What about when the Christian believer is cast into a sea of doubt, or when we are confronted with the prospect of persecution for our faith?  The road then becomes more difficult to navigate I think. 

Stephen was one of the first followers of Christ to be martyred for his faith.  The book of Acts records his final speech, and it is one of most poetic soliloquies any believer has ever recited.  Unfortunately, the end result of Stephen's testimony was ominous, to say the least.  He was a victim of the ancient form of corporal punishment known as stoning.  The astute reader will also note that Christian martyrdom still goes on in our world today.  It may not be a top news story anymore, but people are still dying for their faith, even in the twenty-first century.  This reality hasn't changed much in the last two-thousand years.

Whom then do we trust, when we come to an impasse in our lives and it appears that all roads lead to a dead end?  Who do we trust when we are laid off from our job?  When we are going through a divorce?  When we find ourselves on the proverbial road less traveled?

For this answer I think we must turn our gaze back toward Jesus himself.  In chapter 16 of the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples that, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  

He has overcome the world even when it doesn't look that way, and even when it would be easier (or more reasonable) not to believe it.  This statement is so much more than  some empty platitude implying that 'things will get better' at some point in the near future.  In fact, these Scriptures point to the promise of eternal life that the Christ follower can bank on.  God is reminding us that there is something better than the temporary problems of our earthly lives. If God has overcome the world, then he has done so forever.  Even if we are experiencing turmoil here and now, we are given this spiritual guarantee that in the end, things will turn out okay.  One day we will wake up and the world will make sense again.  We need not take a position of hopelessness.  We weren't meant to.  

By the end of our Webelos worship service, the entire room had erupted into song.  Some of us had printed pieces of paper with the verses listed off, and others simply remembered the hymn from days gone by.  I began the chorus, and others joined in to finish it.  Soon enough (and much to my relief), my own voice blended into a cacophony of fifty other voices.  

Ultimately the service went well I think.  The boys did a great job, and the time went by quickly.  There were smiles on people's faces.  No one went deaf. 

It appears that sometimes in life, we will have to lead the song ourselves.  It can be a scary proposition, but we must do it anyway.  It will often appear that things are not going our way, but we must press on toward the goal.  We are to trust in God.  After all, he warned us that this world will sometimes bring trouble.  No need to be anxious though, he is an excellent singer.


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