A couple of weeks ago, my favorite teacher walked into class, began setting up her computer, then stopped and looked around at her bright-eyed audience.
“I just want to tell you this as a life lesson … cling to Jesus.”
Just as she went on to say, sometimes He’s all we have to hold on to.
This week, I felt like I was in a room where everything was falling down around me. Imagine watching frames and mirrors slide down the walls, books fly off shelves, a chandelier crash down from the ceiling, fragile belongings tumble to the floor. That was how I felt. Perhaps it wouldn’t have appeared that way to someone analyzing me from the outside, but that’s how it was. Deadlines slipped like sand through my fingers. I’ve spent far more time alone recently than I can take, thinking of the way things used to be and the way they might be someday. People I know are suffering in various ways. Everyone is “busy.” There is frequent turmoil. So much is out of my control. (And then came the computer virus…)
I despaired many times, but there was one place I found solace: in prayer. Also at the piano, but that was secondary. (More about that later.)
I’ve discovered there is nothing more comforting than opening my journal and writing it all out to God. (Of course, it is not necessary to write your prayers, but this helps me organize my thoughts as I pray about them.) Sometimes neither I nor anyone else can really make sense of the things that trouble me, but God knows the whole matter beginning to end, and my struggles cannot confuse Him. He is not worried by my problems or shocked at my mistakes. He is not confounded by my questions or indignant at my unbelief. He does not smirk at my misunderstandings or scorn my requests. Neither does he spurn my thanks or disregard my praise. Prayer is simple, free, liberating communication with God. Nothing puzzles Him! Two nights ago, I had an unsettling dream that a friend was in some kind of distress … I woke up suddenly with the thought that something must be terribly wrong. I did not know whether this was just a strange feeling or a reality, but I took it to God in prayer, knowing He could be trusted to provide if the person was in need or bring peace if it was my own fear. How blessed we are to know a God so immensely great, but immensely close.
A little while ago, I posted the words to the beautiful hymn “In Christ Alone,” doubtless one of my favorite songs of all time. My favorite version of this song is sung by Adam Young, commonly known as Owl City. (Listen to it here. Adam’s frequent, articulate, sincere expression of his faith inspires me.) Whenever I hear this song, I have to listen to it several times consecutively to absorb how beautifully it expresses the truth of life in Christ. Adam’s rendition especially touched my heart, perhaps because of its sweet simplicity. Is there any greater hope than the message shared in this song? It makes me envision a lighthouse in the midst of a raging storm, quietly shining through the fog and guiding a weary traveler to the shore. Firm through the fiercest drought and storm …
This brings me to the second place I find calm in the storm: sitting at the piano. One of my favorite things to do is take a break from poring over difficult classical works and simply play because it brings me closer to God. Sometimes that means playing a favorite hymn from long ago, slowly reflecting on the words as well as the melody, but sometimes it isn’t music written on a page. Can worship be wordless? I think so … any gift can be offered back to the Lord as praise. One of my favorite songs to play, though, is the timeless “Amazing Grace.” I don’t know why. Was blind, but now I see. It tells a story. Worship is what we were created to do, no matter what godly form it takes. How could we live without expressing our greatest love?
All those words to say one thing: Cling to Jesus. We need Him at the sunrise and in the depths of night, when all is well and when the walls are falling down. No matter where you are in life, His love is a constant, unquestionable certainty.