(I witnessed the following scene at church several weeks ago, and it has stayed with me ever since. It’s amazing what children can teach us and reveal to us about God and how to worship Him!)
She sang with abandon. Her blond curls bouncing as she poured her heart, soul, and fourth-grade self into the song. She stood among a crowd of elementary students turned temporary worship leaders. The front of the room was full of eager singers, most adding hand motions and bright smiles to the music filling the large room where we were gathered for music time. The song was upbeat, the lyrics familiar, the singer in the video well-known. The atmosphere was charged with excitement and joy. As the last few bars of music faded and the next video was queued, the crowd of young worship leaders turned toward the screen to see what was next. Amy Grant’s melodic voice began singing “Thy Word,” a song which made all the teachers over the age of 30 smile with memories of long ago. Of youth camps and worship nights. Of big hair, and the absence of social media. Yet as our smiles grew, our young singers began to sit. Unfamiliar with the song, unsure of the lyrics, uncomfortable now being front and center. One by one the kids left their self-appointed posts. One by one they sat down.
All except Lydia.
Lydia stood, although the discomfort she was feeling was obvious in her reddening cheeks. Her gaze searched the crowd desperate for someone to join her. Her blue eyes pleaded with friends to come and sing with her. A few looked at her with longing, but they did not stand. Lydia’s knees bent in defeat. If no one else was going to stand, maybe she too should sit. Yet, just a heartbeat later, her knees straightened. Her desire to stand, to sing—to lead—was too strong. And so she took a deep gulp of air, closed her eyes and sang—even though she didn’t know all the words. Even though the hand motions felt somewhat awkward. But before Amy had gotten through the chorus, Lydia had opened her eyes. The look on her face revealing that she wasn’t singing for anyone in that room. The radiance on her face revealing that she was not concerned with what anyone in the room thought, apart from One. For Lydia was clearly and only singing for the God she loves, and who adores her. She was standing for her heavenly Father—and for Him only.
And then, as if drawn towards her joy-filled presence—as if craving what she was experiencing—one by one, others found their way back to the front of the room. One by one they stood. One by one they sang. One by one they followed Lydia’s example.
There weren’t as many as before, but that didn’t bother Lydia one bit, because she wasn’t singing for them. She wasn’t standing for them. No, she would have stood there by herself throughout that entire song, because she had discovered something powerful. Something God longs for each one of us to discover and embrace:
Real worship has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Him.
We need not fear anything—not looking foolish, not standing alone, not having it all figured out. We need only stand and sing and live for Him. And Him alone!
Oh, how I long to follow this young girl’s example! How I long to be more like Lydia, and how I pray that she never ever changes!