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A Joyful Noise

by Joanna Pierce on June 22, 2016

The houselights are dimmed; stifled coughs echo through the auditorium. Somewhere over the sound system, music begins to play. Then, soft waves of shuffled footsteps crest your ears, eventually overpowering the pleasant melody. Risers creak as children began to climb, balance, and position themselves on the cold steel.

Somewhere offstage a pianist strikes up an accompaniment; the lower octave Bb slightly out of tune. The conductor’s hands raise, gathering the attention of the twenty-some sets of eyes on the platform—give or take a few searching the audience diligently for their family members. Very quickly, there’s an overwhelming sound of air being gasped into tiny lungs. Then, the powerful first note.

You’ve been there—a music program of some kind of a beloved child, dear niece/nephew, or annoying sibling. I have, many times, through my sisters’ choir recitals and Christmas programs. It’s an interesting experience by far in many respects, one being the caliber of music. It doesn’t quite meet the criterion of a Carnegie Hall performance…

Between urchins in the front row waving madly to their parents, other youngsters having nervous breakdowns, or the charismatic kids who seem to be out to win the drama award for most exaggerated motions, there is always at least one child who’s voice bellows out over the entire performance. The individual sings loudly, proudly, and most definitely off key.

Children’s music programs don’t hold exclusive rights to amateur singers. I’ve had the distinct privilege of being serenaded by an adult or two in my lifetime who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. They sing loud, proud, and drown out everyone else around them. And, this even happens in one of my favorite places—the house of God.

I’m being transparent here for a minute, so don’t send me to the guillotine yet. As someone who’s derived from a musically inclined family, who prides themselves on musicianship, I’ve been judgmental in the past toward individuals who sing in front of mass audiences when the Lord clearly didn’t bless them with one musical bone in their body.

But, as I’ve drawn closer to the Lord over the past few years, I’ve had a critical revelation—much to the Lord’s prompting, I might add. Psalms 100:1 says, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands” (KJV). As much as I’d like to rush past this Scripture and/or insert my own terminology here, God expects us to make a joyful noise…not a beautiful noise unto Him.

While I like to hang onto the notion that all things should be done with excellence, God reminds me often that my definition for joyful, excellent, or even beautiful is not His measure of joyful, excellent, or beautiful. What may sound like pure noise in my ears is actually a beautiful melody to Him. He looks at the root of the song in the heart, and when it comes out in praise to Him, it sounds wonderful to Him and fits every harmony in His heavenly realm.

It’s common to pray that God gives us eyes to see others from His perspective. But, today let’s pray God gives us ears to hear others from His perspective. We need to hear the joyful noise of our brothers and sisters around us—every tone bellowing out from within, voicing the love and adoration of our Savior. When we hear with God’s ears, I promise you we’ll hear, a sweet, joyful melody every time.