I can’t believe they want me to sing.…I can’t believe they expect me to sing.…I can’t believe I’m singing!”
I was always considered a pianist. The only singing I ever did was usually in the shower. I knew that if I were going to be able to sing with that mobile evangelistic team I had just joined, it would truly have to be a work of the Lord!
Oh, sure, I had helped to lead the worship in my home congregation, but this was the Jews for Jesus Liberated Wailing Wall. I knew that a new set of standards would be in operation. I wanted to do my best, but I enjoyed the group too much to risk throwing a wrench (my untrained voice) into the works. Couldn’t I just play keyboard and let the others sing? No, they expected me to sing, and somehow I was going to do it.
In an effort to free my as yet imprisoned voice, they provided a vocal coach, and I plunged into singing lessons with all the enthusiasm of a prisoner being led to the execution block. Don’t get me wrong. It was not that I hated singing. It was just that I felt awkward and self-conscious because I didn’t really know how to sing. I knew I must be in trouble when my voice teacher said, “Just sing by the window. I’ll help you out.” I interpreted that as being just a step away from his wearing ear plugs.
It all sounds amusing, but it’s sad, too, because in all that time I had not yet asked the Lord to help me. By omitting that important step I was just prolonging my pain and agony. It was unnecessary for the whole situation to pose such a dilemma, but it was a dilemma of my own making. I insisted on relying on just getting by until somehow, slowly but surely, I would be able to sing. I did not take into account the deadlines I must meet and the fact that as long as I only played and did not sing, I was not adding fully to the team’s sound. Still I didn’t pray about it. While I was being stubborn and foolish, God was showing me his grace and patience.
It finally got “down to the wire” timewise. It was past my deadline for perfecting my vocal skills and they expected me to sing. Now I had to learn and perfect 11 songs in the space of 3-1/2 hours! This time I prayed. I admitted my sin, which was mostly unbelief that God could empower me to do something that was not naturally in me, and I acknowledged that I could do all things through Christ. I also had to confess my weakness and inability to complete that work without him. I won’t say that as I prayed a wave of genius immediately came over me. But I did receive a sense of peace that enabled me to approach the mountain of work calmly.
It didn’t hit me until some time later when driving along the highway with my wife Dafna and another team member. We started to sing. Suddenly I realized that I no longer felt awkward or self-conscious about my voice, and that it even might have sounded good.
“Hey, what do you know,” I thought. “I’m singing!”
Editor’s Note: There’s more. In order to understand Arturo’s story, you must know that he is a musician of superb ability on the piano, and that he had received much acclaim for his musicianship before he tried to sing. As of December 1985, Arturo has been the leader of the Liberated Wailing Wall. He and the rest of the group would appreciate your prayers as they travel to distant places proclaiming the message of the Messiah.
Because of the rigors of traveling and the high demand in time and energies most team members are unable to commit themselves to more than one 18-month tour of duty with the liberated Wailing Wall. Frequently there are “gaps in the Wall” that need to be filled, and Jews for Jesus is ready to audition serious qualified applicants. We need Jewish Christians who have a heart for evangelism and musical ability that we can refine and develop. If this description fits you and you are young, energetic and eager to serve God in a meaningful way, this could be the opportunity of your life. Contact Mitch Glaser at our San Francisco Headquarters, 60 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-5895.