There are two pieces of music that I have played dozens of times and find myself gravitating to whenever I feel the urge to “pick up my harp and pluck”; these songs are simple in composure and contain no fancy adornments, but they come from a sincere heart of longing – longing to live a good, pure life in praise and reverence of God, walking in deep, meaningful fellowship with my Lord and Saviour.
It's a slow learning curve and mistakes are inevitable – but oh, how my fingers fumble when my focus shifts to the “what ifs...” of human praise! I confess that there are moments when, instead of focusing on lifting my soul songs to God, I wonder what other people would make of my amateur playing. Once those thoughts kick in, my hands kick out and music that once flowed smoothly, filling me with joy and life become burdensome and mundane. The simple nature of my novice songs fills me with inadequacy and I leave the harp down in spirit and low on faith.
The truth of the matter is that I have no musical training, and my hands are severely affected by chronic illness, so my harp playing may always be simple, but despite that God is looking at my heart, not my hands. I do not believe it to be a sin to wonder what people would make of a passion, but when the thought and possibility of human praise or criticism takes away from the joy, peace and life given to us by God through Jesus, there is a problem.
Let us not be discouraged in our life-giving endeavours by the “what if” offerings of mankind, but instead be encouraged and of “good cheer”, for a sincere heart means more than a thousand well-played, well-plucked harp songs.