We had a program scheduled and the director called an extra rehearsal. That rehearsal did not fit my schedule. I would have had to cancel a few lessons and more important, miss a Wednesday evening Bible study. He made it clear that no misses would be excused short of death beds. So I took a deep breath when I broached the lion in his den the next afternoon.
My heart sank when I saw three others waiting outside his office. Instead of calling us in one by one, he came out and stood in the hall and listened as the first one asked to be excused. “Absolutely not!” he said sternly. “You already miss too many rehearsals. If you don’t show up, you will be dismissed from the chorus.” The next one received a similar reply and the next. They all left, crestfallen.
Then he saw me at the back of the line. “If you have to dismiss me, I understand,” I began, “but my husband is a preacher and we have a Bible study that night. I just cannot miss it.”
I was shocked when a small smile twitched at his lips. “You I don’t worry about,” he said quietly. “You are always there. You listen when I give directions. You know your part. You haven’t missed a single performance. Go to your Bible study. You still have a place in my chorus.” Talk about relief. I drove home praising God in my heart.
Have you read Psalm 123? That psalm is classified as a psalm of trust, written on behalf of the entire nation of Israel. Many psalms are full of hallelujahs, with shouts of Hosanna, with dancing and leaping and loud expressions of joy. Not this one. Psalm 123 is a quiet psalm. It is presented as servants watching quietly from the corner of the room for the smallest sign from the master that he wants something.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us, v 2.
Leupold says, “There is nothing powerful, moving or sublime that finds expression here. A quiet, submissive tone prevails throughout. It is subdued in character.” This is simply a servant doing his master’s will in an unobtrusive manner, calmly asking for relief but going about his duty even in the midst of trial, trusting that his prayer will be answered without his further interference.
I like this psalm. I have never been one who needs to demonstrate my love for God loudly, yet everyone knows it is there simply from the way I live my life. If my chorus director could know I was a “faithful student” despite the fact that I was quiet instead of boisterous, certainly God can know the same about my spiritual life.
God, the Father of spirits, made all kinds of personalities. And because He made them, he accepts them—just look at the apostles and all their differences. If He will accept that varied crew, He will accept my worship, even if it is quiet and restrained, as long as my emotion and intent are sincere and obedient.
Nowadays it seems people are quick to judge others as less thankful, less sincere, and less loving if they sit quietly and say little aloud about their feelings. This psalm says it isn’t so. If I sit quietly in the corner waiting for my master’s smallest cue, I may, in fact, be a whole lot more likely to see it than someone who can’t sit still long enough to notice, or be quiet long enough to hear someone besides himself.
We are all different, yet God accepts all worship that is “in spirit and in truth,” the brash, the boisterous, even the analytical and the subdued. Perhaps our judgments of one another should be more subdued as well.
But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious, 1 Pet 3:4.