I was standing and singing in church today when I heard a noise. It was a joyful noise. It was Patricia – usually singing only the last one or two words of a line, and slightly off key, but singing at the top of her lungs with her arms raised to the Lord. Patricia and her mom started coming about seven years ago to our Bible Studies and other events that Good News Ministries held. They have hung on with us through thick and thin and have become a great help in our ministry. They also come to the church we attend – The Bridge Community Church.
As I was listening I began to smile and tears came to my eyes. “Trish” sings with unencumbered joy. She is not weighed down with thoughts of this world or with problems in her life. You see, Trish is special needs. She probably functions on a kindergarten level at best. She can’t read but she does know some letters and can write her name. She isn’t very verbal but over the years I have begun to understand her through her sign language and through the words that she knows. Instead of worrying about everyday things, her only concerns today were what she was going to wear at the special needs “beauty” pageant that she is going to be in next weekend. After that it will be Christmas that she talks about continuously. Then the special needs prom in the spring. Then her birthday in the fall. It’s a continuous cycle but we have grown to love her very much.
As I was listening this morning my thoughts went back to a few years ago. A few years ago I might have thought her loud singing and long drawn out words were a nuisance. After all, that was my worship time with the Lord and that noise was invading my thoughts and interrupting my time with God. I have since gotten over that, but I sometimes wonder if other members of the church still harbor those thoughts. Oh, they smile, but do they secretly think that she should be quiet or perhaps hope that her mom might take her out. It matters not to me anymore what people might think. I love hearing her sing.
I used to think that someday, when the Lord comes back or when he takes Trish home to live with Him, she will have a perfect voice. One that will be beautiful. A voice that she will praise God with continually. Lately, however, I have wondered if God really will give her a new voice. Who are we to know God’s thoughts and ways. Compared to God we don’t know anything. Our world is so mixed up that our thoughts are, as my mom would say, discombobulated! Maybe it is us that will be getting the new voices! Voices that will be just like Patricia’s voice! You see, it is Trish that sings freely. It is Trish that sings with joy that is untainted to the world around her. It is Trish that sings with a pure heart to God. Isn’t that how God wants us to be – pure, unencumbered, and free with our hands raised to Him in worship? Maybe Trish is God’s perfect model that we need to take lessons from. Maybe Trish has the perfect voice for God’s heavenly choir. Maybe we can all learn something from Trish. Forget CAN, maybe we all SHOULD learn some lessons from Trish.
Sing on Patricia! Sing on! I’ll be singing right beside you!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;
Psalm 98:4 NIV