At the end of the month I will be participating in a concert with a small gospel group I have been singing with for a couple years. This concert feels like a uniquely special opportunity, particularly when I consider my history with this group. I was a fan long before I started singing with them, and the way it all happened truly seemed like a gift from God.
Shortly after going through the process of a divorce, I was wondering if I might ever be in a position to have a healthy relationship in the future. Feeling saddened at the seeming impossibility of this ever happening, I lay in bed one night crying and praying in a desperate way, just yearning for some kind of clear answer. As I often do when I can’t seem to find words myself, I opened the Bible to whatever page it would open to. That night it was Isaiah 62, and my eyes fell on verses 10-12. I was looking at my good old trusty King James, as I do sometimes in those desperate moments.
Verse 10 includes the phrases “prepare ye the way of the people” and “lift up a standard for the people”. Those phrases in relation to the topic of finding a life partner could easily yield a discussion for a whole separate blog post, and perhaps we will explore that at some point. But it was verse 12 that really touched my heart that night. It says this in part: “...thou shalt be called Sought out, A city not forsaken.” The tears flowing became those of joy rather than of sorrow as they had been the moment before.
I took this message to mean a few things. In a practical sense, I felt it might be telling me that I didn’t need to be out there looking for a man- I could expect to be “sought out” when the time was right. I also found great comfort in the promise of not being forsaken. And I recalled hearing that sometimes the words “city” or “land” in the Bible can refer to our consciousness or thoughts. I considered how God had never deserted me and was continually providing me with uplifting messages to ponder like this one.
Of course I wondered how I might be “sought out” by a man in the future and how long it might take for that to happen. It turned out that this promise of being “sought out” would be fulfilled quite literally and quickly for me in unexpected ways, neither of which involved a possible mate or any kind of relationship.
Within a couple weeks after reading this Bible verse that night, two things happened. First, a man whose name I had heard but whom I had never met contacted me about speaking at a biblical studies conference later that summer. Someone he knew had suggested I might be a fit for some new elements he was wanting to bring into the conference. I did end up particpating in that event, and it was an excellent opportunity to gain more experience as a speaker.
The other thing that happened was that I got a message from the director of this gospel group of which I had been a fan for about thirteen years, almost since the group first formed. Now, I had been participating in the gospel music scene in Boston for quite a while, singing in a few different large choirs. Throughout those years, I had wished and hoped to sing in a smaller group with serious, dedicated, skilled singers. There were a few such groups in Boston, and I always loved to hear them and dreamed of singing in one of them someday. But the implied etiquette is that you don’t go and ask these directors about joining these groups. If it happens, it happens, but you don’t go looking for it. They don’t announce auditions and hold them regularly like some of the choirs. It was sort of a mystery as to how one could become part of these groups.
I still remember when I first heard David, the director, and his group perform. They sang a song called Child of God that moved me beyond words. I had purchased the CD and began to sing along with the songs, which I continued to do over the years. I purchased subsequent CDs and got very familiar with their music, and I attended their concerts when I was able to.
One of the members of the group was a close friend of mine and knew I would love to sing in a small gospel group. But without my friend speaking to David, he had already planned to contact me and ask me about joining them. One of the sopranos was leaving the group after having been in it since the beginning. When I received his message, I was floored. It seemed totally out of the blue. Since I had been listening to their songs for years, I was able to start coming to rehearsals and pick up the parts fairly quickly so that I could start singing with them.
Singing with this group has been such a gift to me. The songs David writes are deeply inspired and meaningful as well as musically complex and powerful. David and the other singers are like family, and they welcomed me so generously. I have loved the actual experience of singing almost as much as the genuine fellowship and laughter that we share at every rehearsal and event where we do music. The opportunity came at just the right moment for me.
There are six singers in the group now. David explained that he does not generally accept suggestions from others about who should be part of the group. He prays and lets the Spirit lead him when it comes to making additions. It seems like perhaps the same Spirit that led me to that Bible verse that night also led David to be part of fulfilling a desire I had cherished for over a decade.
And what is the name of the group I’ve been singing with? Confirmation. This whole experience was indeed a confirmation that God “seeks us out”. None of us can be forsaken. This is a promise to each of us.