I have a malady which is not good for someone who sings in church. I'm not talking about someone who sings along to the hymns or whatever; I'm in the choir, and from time to time I am even involved in solos and small ensembles. But there's something that gives me problems from time to time, and it causes me concern.
I have a lump in my throat.
It's not a growth or anything like that, though... it only shows up at certain times. For example, I was listening to Christian radio this morning and I started singing along with the Newsboys on a song we sing at my church:
I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned...
BAM. Lump in throat. Can't keep singing with a lump in the way. I didn't even get to "I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me because You died and rose again." You can imagine how this could be a problem for someone who sings in church... I don't know if I've EVER made it all the way through the third verse of "In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song." And of course, developing an unscheduled lump in the throat while singing of the goodness of God is touching and all, but doesn't help to provide a stellar vocal performance when you're singing for an audience!
I've heard of people who pull over their cars and raise their hands and have a brief little unplanned worship service right there on the shoulder when they think of something that spiritually moves them. I've even heard preachers talk about getting out and running around the car, they got so excited. Some people probably do stuff like that, but for me, the lump (and maybe a tear or two in my eyes) is basically what happens when gratefulness for God rises up in my heart. I guess I'm not a very showy person... God likes it when we use our bodies to praise Him (and I do sometimes), but when I'm going about my daily business it kind of localizes itself an inch or two below my chin.
Luckily, to date my lump has only appeared when I am singing just for me and God. And actually, in those situations, I'm thinking a lump isn't such a bad thing. It means I'm actually paying attention to what I'm singing, and I'm understanding some tiny bit of what God means to me. In fact, I recommend that everyone who reads this sings a song that gives them a lump today. It doesn't matter if the lump comes from singing "Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee, perfect in power, in love and purity" or "I can hear the trumpets sounding and now His face I see... Praise God, He's coming for me!" or "He reigns in Heaven above with wisdom, power and love" or "We stand and lift up our hands, for the joy of the Lord is our strength." It doesn't really matter what song about your Lord gives you a lump in your throat... and it doesn't matter if it's a lump, a jump, a shout or a prayer... let worship music draw you nearer to Him today.