“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2)
Angela pressed her face between the white boards of her grandma’s backyard fence. She waited there for a minute, listening, and then she ran across to the other side of the yard and pressed her face up against those white boards. After a little while, she ran back to the other side, and then back again.
Grandma had been watching her from the screen door and finally opened it. “Angela, honey, what in the world are you doing?”
Angela put her finger up to her lips and ran up to her grandma. “This is what,” she whispered, pointing with both hands to both sides of the back yard. “I am listening to your neighbors!”
Grandma’s face looked shocked. “Listening to my neighbors?” she whispered back. “Whatever for?”
“I’m seeing if they are Christians, Grandma.” Angela pointed to the neighbor’s yard on the right. “That’s Mr. Cherian over there – I think he is a Christian!”
Grandma nodded. “Sam Cherian and I have talked about the Lord many times. He is a wonderful brother in Christ.”
Then Angela pointed over to the lefthand neighbor’s yard. “But I’m just not so sure about Miss Wyler. She just never sings!”
Grandma looked over toward Miss Wyler’s yard and said in a very quiet voice, “Angela, why would you say that? There is nothing in the Bible that says we have to sing in order to be genuine believers in Jesus.”
“Oh, Grandma – I know that! But sometimes you can really tell the Christians from the non-Christians because they DO sing! Mr. Cherian only has one real leg, and he isn’t grouchy at all. When I watch him working in his garden, he is always humming a hymn or singing something! And he usually has a smile on his face, too. He doesn’t even sing that great and he has that funny high voice, but he is always singing. There is something different about him, and I think it’s something joyful in his heart that makes him sing.”
Grandma nodded. “And what have you been noticing as you’ve watched Miss Wyler working in her garden?”
“Well, she is nice enough to me when I say ‘hello’ to her. But she just does not seem like a very happy person, inside or out. She hangs around with her cats and mutters under her breath about all the things that keep going wrong in her yard or with the weather. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile or heard her sing a single note.”
“I see what you mean, honey,” said Grandma. She put her arm around Angela’s shoulder and led her inside the house. “Wilma Wyler does seem to have a hard time remembering that there’s more to life than her cats and good gardening weather. I don’t know if she’s a true Christian or not. One thing I do know is that all of us struggle sometimes to remember God – don’t we? We get caught up in our worries and our work, and we forget that His goodness and greatness are bigger and better and longer-lasting than any of our problems.”
“I guess that’s true for me, too,” said Angela. “And I am a Christian! But I guess sometimes I don’t act like somebody who knows Jesus. If I’m really believing God is as good and great as His Word says He is, I have a lot of reason to be happy, even when things don’t go like I want. Kind of like Mr. Cherian singing in his garden even though his garden gets the exact same weather Miss Wyler’s garden gets. And Mr. Cherian has no cats and only one leg!”
“That’s right, honey. As long as we are right with God, we have every reason to rejoice in all that He has done and all that He is. Singing is one way Christians can show that our happiness is in God instead of in our circumstances.” She poured Angela a glass of lemonade and leaned over the table to hand it to her, smiling widely. “Maybe the next time we’re out back, we should sing a little song, just in case Mr. Cherian or Miss Wyler decide to ‘listen’ to their neighbors?”
God’s goodness and greatness are reasons enough for a Christian to “rejoice evermore.”
» What do I think I need in order to be “happy”?
» Do I think of salvation as something worth singing about?
» Who is my Source for real and lasting joy?