I don’t think my parents ever resorted to wearing ear plugs, even though they had a good reason. My sister and I were both what we jokingly referred to as being “a band dork.” My sister chose the delicate instrument of a flute. Fortunately, when learning to play the flute, the sound isn’t unbearable to hear. The same can’t be said for the clarinet. Although it’s an instrument which makes beautiful music once it’s been mastered, it sounds like a dying goose when being played by a beginner. I remember many a night when my poor dog howled until I stopped practicing. Thankfully, my clarinet quickly stopped sounding like a goose, and I fell in love with band class and the music we played.
Many lessons were learned during those years I spent in band, and not all had to do with music. I learned about perseverance, discipline, and hard work. My band teacher taught me to never quit, even when challenged by something that seems impossible to overcome. Most importantly, I learned that when a person makes a mistake, he should keep going, and don’t allow the problem or mistake to keep him from moving forward. Beautiful music can still be made, despite the mistakes which were made.
Taking the lessons I learned in band class and applying them to life, I’ve come to realize that God is the Master Musician, and He is able to take every part of our lives and turn it into a lovely melody, in spite of our trials, pain, and tears. Paul knew this truth when he wrote Philippians 2:12-13. Verse thirteen is a verse I have often quoted when going through a difficult time to help remind myself that God is at work in my life, no matter how bleak things may appear. This verse says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
I love the original Greek word Paul used for “work.” This is a word that has only one translation in English, yet in the Greek, there are ten different words used for “work.” The word Paul chose to use is only written four other times in the entire New Testament for the word “work.” In fact, it’s a word that’s instantly recognizable even to those who have never studied Greek. The word Paul uses is energeo. Do you see it? This is where we get our word for “energy,” and it means ”active, doing, continually at work.”
To me, it’s amazing to think that God is continually at work in my life. Even when nothing in my life is going the way I hoped it would and I feel like God has forgotten about me, God is constantly working. But why would He do this? According to the Greek words used for “will” and the phrase “for His good pleasure,” it’s because God “thinks well of us” and He “desires” to work in our lives. Only God could take something like a chronic illness and turn it into something beautiful, but the key is that we have to let Him.
When first learning how to play the clarinet, it would have been extremely easy to quit or simply not practice. If I had done this, I would have spent the remainder of the school year sounding like a dying goose every time I played the instrument. Yet because I allowed my band director to work with me and teach me, I continually became a better player and learned how to make music on what was formerly known as a goose killer. The same is true for each of us.
God wants each of our lives to be a song played for His glory. He is composing our lives note by note. Don’t let the problems you face take away your melody. Far too often, we give up on God and emulate a dying goose rather than a trained musician playing a wonderful song. Walk daily with God and let Him fill your heart with divine music. You have a story to tell and a song that only you can sing. So no matter what’s happening in your life right now, choose to sing. You have a God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.” ~ Psalm 40:3
(c) September 10, 2012