I love music. With the exception of rap and jazz, I love every kind of music from 70's rock to classical and everything in between. Music moves me emotionally (soundtrack, Somewhere in Time), spiritually (Ginny Owens, If You Want Me To), and at times physically (Blackfoot's Train, Train, or Kirk Franklin's Stomp). This morning was different - I got all three in one song. Driving home from an appointment with a new eye doctor in one of those rare instances when no one was in the car with me, I was actually listening to my station of choice on the radio. The song started playing and immediately caught my attention because it opened with a piano solo. A bit of a haunting melody, I turned up the volume. And then she started singing. The first few words grabbed me and I turned up the volume again. By the time I she reached the chorus I had pulled over on the side of the road and stopped the car.
I've been hearing a lot about burdens lately. The cares of this world. Trials. Storms. Thorns. In general, the stuff of life that pulls us down. Talk to your friends, ask your neighbors, strike up a conversation with a total stranger, everyone is struggling with something. And for all of our "don't get too close; don't ask me to open up" masks and barriers, most people are quick to share the weight of their heart. Bad times have a way of leveling the playing field. We all feel a kindred-ness of spirit. My pastor has been dealing with this subject a good bit lately. Even our old (very old) friend Job, from the oldest book in the Bible, suffered the unimaginable loss of his property, his crops, and tragically, his children. His initial reaction was shock and grief, but unbelievably tempered with insight and understanding. Job 2:10 records these words which Job spoke to his wife, "...shall we accept good from God, but not trouble?"
It's hard accepting trouble. We are born into this world naked, cold, and screaming. Someone clothes us, cuddles us, and speaks tenderly to us. And we are calmed. Expectation established. In those very early moments of our lives, we somehow develop the belief system that trouble should never darken our door. Heartache should never touch our family. Disappointment and frustration should never furrow our brow. But we know, we know, trouble is never far away. Someone once said that we are either coming out of a valley, in the middle of a valley, or heading into one. I personally feel like I've been in a valley for quite some time. Not of anyone's doing or not doing, simply the stuff of life. Which is why the song I was listening to on the radio hit me right between my frustrated mind and disappointed heart.
The song gave me perspective. Helped me shake off my self-imposed assumption that I'm being ignored by God. Even spanked me firmly on my seat of self-pity. What if, as the song says, God loves us too much to give us the lesser things? For you, wherever life has brought you this day, in this moment, stop. Listen to the music and words of this beautifully simple, deeply profound work of art.