Yesterday I sang at the funeral service for a man whom I had never met, but through the eulogies and tributes given by his children and close friends, I know he was a great man. I was asked to sing an arrangement of an hymn entitled "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." I've sung this song on previous occasions, but it's been many years. Because I had not previously known the departed brother, I didn't expect to be overly emotional. But as soon as my lovely accompanist started playing the music, I could feel the tears swelling in my eyes. I half-sang/half-whispered the first line, surprised at my inability to compose myself. We paused, and as soon as I was able to find my voice, I started again. The third verse concludes with a very powerful message, especially for a funeral: "He lives to grant my daily breath, He lives and I shall conquer death, He lives my mansion to prepare, He lives to bring me safely there." Once again, I was surprised at how emotional I became. Trying to sing while at the same time fighting back a torrent of tears is not easy. I was only able to make it through the song by not looking at the family seated on the front row and trying my hardest to keep a big smile on my face. Sounds odd, I know, but a big smile was the only thing that prevented my lips from quavering and my voice from breaking. Somewhere in the middle of the song, I realized that the emotions I was feeling could only be partly explained by the fact that I was at a funeral. The real reason that I was finding it so hard to sing a song that I've sung so many times in my life was the fact that I was essentially bearing my testimony through music. It's a simple testimony, but a powerful one: I know that my Redeemer lives.
Now out of all the gifts and talents that heaven bestows upon us here in this life, I know that one of my gifts is the ability to sing. I am not athletic or particularly physically strong, I am not creative in the homemade crafts department, I am a disaster in the kitchen... but I can sing. I've always been able to sing and I'm grateful whenever I have the opportunity to share that talent with others. What has struck me most over the years, though, is that when I have been asked to sing, for example, during a Sunday worship service, more often than not I am struggling in some way. Maybe I haven't been reading my scriptures as consistently as I would like, maybe I've been letting my personal prayers become less personal, or maybe I'm just having a hard time with life in general. Whatever it's been, those are usually the times that I'm asked to sing in church, and the song that I sing is exactly the message that I need to hear. So my musical number becomes so much more than just a song. It becomes a reminder to me from heaven that He knows who I am and He is always there to comfort me, help me and guide me.
I am grateful for tender mercies and I am grateful that I have been blessed with the ability to share my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ through music.