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A Joyful Noise
By James Clem

God loves a joyful noise! He thrills to hear his children sing--even me.

I always wanted to sing well. I just never quite managed to make the notes go up and down like they're supposed to. Growing up in church, I envied those who would get up in front of everyone and sing to God from their heart. I so much wanted to do that.

I would go home and talk to God about why some people were talented in that way and I wasn't. At home when no one else was around, I would sing those same songs. They didn't sound the same, but they brought a warmth to my heart.

For many years, I would just sit quietly in church and listen while everyone else was singing. I never joined in because that would spoil it. I was sure that everyone would turn around and look at me, and no one would enjoy the music.

Then at a Wednesday night prayer service, I learned better. It changed my whole world! I learned that God truly wants to hear a joyful noise.

Our church is not very big and we're pretty informal, especially on Wednesday nights. Whoever happened to be there would call out a song, and we would all turn to it in our hymn books and sing it. That is, everyone else would sing it.

On this particular night, the songs just didn't sound right. I looked around at the people there and I could see others kind of glancing around too. It took barely a moment to realize that the new preacher was singing. He had his eyes closed, which might explain why he wasn't following the music very well. Well, let me just say his preaching talent was much better than his singing talent.

I watched him as he sang, and I listened. Not one single note was on key. I watched him as he sang from his heart and worshiped the Lord in the pew as he was waiting to get up and preach. He didn't care, and maybe didn't even know, that other people were paying him the slightest bit of attention.

I closed my eyes too, and let the song fill my heart. I opened my mouth and quietly sang along as best I could. It wasn't very good, but tears started coming as I felt my Father in heaven smiling down at me.

I don't remember what the young man preached on that night; I'd already gotten my sermon.

As I was leaving I told him plainly that after listening to him sing that night, I would never again be afraid to sing in church.

I might not ever get up in front of everyone and sing, but I know with all my heart that the Lord truly loves a joyful noise!
James Clem especially enjoys reading and writing historical fiction. Discovering FaithWriters has rekindled an enjoyment of writing. He currently lives in the hot, dry desert of Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Anna, who is his number one supporter and encourager, and his 12-year-old daughter, Rebecca. All three enjoy participating together in the drama ministries at their church. His daily activities include managing the family's private zoo, which now includes two cats, a dog, two birds, and a rabbit--all living happily together.