Monday, March 21, 2016

Earth Music

The earth has music for those who listen.

That's an almost correctly worded statement that usually gets attributed to Shakespeare or George Santayana.  It actually is most of a line from the last stanza of a poem titled "The Magic of Sound" by Reginald Vincent Holmes, from his book Fireside Fancies.  The stanza reads like this:
The earth has its music for those who will listen;
Its bright variations forever abound.
With all of the wonders that God has bequeathed us,
There's nothing that thrills like the magic of sound.
The first and third verses caught my attention, Especially the first one. As a child I had music lessons, like many have.  My parents thought it would compensate, to some degree, for my physical handicap.  My instrument was the cornet.  Later on, I was in my high school glee club.  At this point, I don't have the lip for cornet/trumpet and  I'd need some help singing on key.  But God gifted me with a good ear.  Which can be a good or bad thing.  

Get me next to a good or great singer and, depending on the day, I'll either be right along with them or doing harmony.  And I sound great.  But get me next to someone who's even slightly off tune and the notes I hit are likely to be somewhere out in the third galaxy from the left..  But I have a good listening ear.  So, I can be quiet and be able to recognize and appreciate good music.  The alternative is being surrounded by out of tune noise.   That's how some of us live our lives.  But we don't have to.

If you've lived with a handicap of any kind, you know that the only way you successfully deal with it is to acknowledge it, deal with it and move on.  That's true whether it's my physical handicap, my friend Pastor Dave's blindness, or another friend's bipolar disorder.  Doing it right allows us to "hear the music".  Otherwise, we start spouting sour notes.  Wallowing in self pity and, if we acknowledge God, blaming Him for a raw deal.  The only way to avoid that  is to trust and focus on God, not our difficulties.  Only after that do any of the physical or psychological shortcomings and struggles make the list.  And then, far down the list.

1 Peter 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Our trials are precious, but only in that they point us toward our God.  He never intended them to be our focus.  Anyone with a handicap and/or pain has only successfully gotten through it by focusing on the solution, not the problem.  And those of us who know our Lord and Savior have the best thing to focus on.  You know my favorite verse.

Matthew 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Our focus is supposed to be on the presence of God.  When we get that right, everything else falls into place.  We "hear the music", God's music.  Romans 8:28 tells us,"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Our heavenly Father is omniscient. So, He's even going to take our screw ups and give us an opportunity to use them for our spiritual benefit.  Indeed, think of the man of struggles, Job.

Job 5:6-9  Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.  I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

Job suggests we're all born into trouble, handicapped in some way or not.  We're deaf to the music of life, to some degree.  Being in tumult is part of life, after the fall of Adam and Eve.  We get too much noise blocking God's music.  Jesus says this:

Luke 12:29  And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.

Focus on the Solver, not the problem to be solved.  Most of us have heard of Brother Lawrence, who wrote the Christian classic,  The Practice of the Presence of God.  He said, "I keep my attention on God...".  That was his focus for everything.  His answer for moving forward.  It was his way to allow himself to "hear the music".

We're all handicapped in some way, some more than others.  Dealing with it is like being in a maze. The one hollering at us for getting into the maze really does nothing to help get us out.  It becomes part of the noise blocking out the music.  And most of us know when we've hit the maze.  So, telling us we've gotten into the maze solves nothing.  But the voice that cries "Over here!  The way out is over here." is the one that is useful.  It's the voice that guides us toward God, through the maze of life, toward the music, instead of making us become paralyzed into inaction by focusing on the noise of the  problems rather than the way around them.  It's the voice I will always listen to.  And it's the voice I will always try to be.  And it's the voice that fits a later passage in Luke 12:

Luke 12:42-44  And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.

It's the voice that helps us to "hear the music".  Which voice are you hearkening to?  More importantly, which voice are you?  Are you allowing yourself and others to "hear the music"?


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