“Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.” 1 Ch 15:22
I “discovered” my voice in a music class when I was in high school. I had no idea that I had a voice, although I did enjoy singing. I didn’t know how to read music and if music is a kind of language, I was entirely illiterate. All I could do at the time was to sing with the class a few times until I memorized the lyrics and melody; that was about it.
A year or two later, I found myself singing to a crowd by the campfire at a summer retreat. It was a rather moving experience, not so much to my audience, but mostly to myself. I might not have sung with great technique, but I did so with my heart.
I have continued to sing throughout the years since then, but to myself most of the time. Even so, I had neither desire nor opportunity to learn how to do music properly. My timing and rhythm were often off, which didn’t bother my audience, for I was an audience of only one.
Then by God’s sovereign guidance, I enrolled in a non-accredited Christian college for a year and a half and I started to sing hymns. Even though I was yet to be converted to Christianity, I seemed to have gained an audience for my singing- my Heavenly Father. The first hymn I learned to sing was “This is My Father’s World,” even though I had no idea that I had another Father besides my earthly one.
I don’t remember how often I sang during the darkest days of my youth, for not only did the military take away my freedom, it robbed me of my voice as well, and for three long years I led a life of a robot whose only voice and songs were programmed in me and I could only speak and sing mechanically with metallic sound. I lost my voice completely.
“I once was lost but now I am found.” I remember going to the small church where I was saved and repeatedly singing John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” a few months after I was discharged. I seemed to have found my voice again when the Lord found me, and from then on, I started to sing to no other audience but One.
Forty years have elapsed since then and my baritone has become a little scratchy and my singing technique remains a lot to be desired, yet I still find my heart the most in tune with the Lord when I sing praises to him. I have always told people that if I had an opportunity to do my life over, I would have chosen to be a singer. I don’t know how realistic that is since I possess no music talent, but at least a relatively presentable voice. Being a poet, I do have more than enough sensitivity and emotion to spare and singing seems to be a perfect avenue to vent them, but the Lord knew perfectly well what he was doing with the little bit of natural talent that I possess. He called me to be a poet and a preacher and, as far as my singing is concerned, I should just remain a “closet singer” who performs to no audience but the Lord himself.