La Rambla, Pocitos

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

In Tune

If you are tone deaf then you probably don’t mind when an instrument is played out of tune or when a person sings and just can’t seem to hit the right note.  I’m no musician, but I live with a talented one, and I’ve become accustomed to beautiful music - so much so that now I cringe when music isn’t what it should be.   It wasn’t always this way for me; although I could identify an off-note, I hadn’t been around greatness enough to care.  But now that I’ve been listening to my wife play and sing for more than 13 years, and more than that, now I'm watching her lead people into the very presence of God, combining her musicality with her spiritual gifting; I dare say music and worship are forever changed for me.  

Both of us grew up in Christian homes, and our parents taught us so much about God and the things of God.  We grew up praying in our families and with people from church.  Our churches had prayer meetings.  But with all this richness, we somehow missed it.  Although we knew they were important, we saw prayer meetings as the most boring events at church.  Many in the church must have felt the same way because it was usually the least attended event in the church calendar.  Many times the whole meeting was changed into a teaching service with little time actually dedicated to prayer.   We grew up knowing prayer was important, and we valued it and practiced it, but we never really stopped to consider if we really knew how to pray or not.

That changed for us when we visited a church in Tallahassee, FL in October of 2010.  We were in one of the hardest times in our lives.  It had been a rough couple years.  I had begun experiencing panic attacks on almost a daily basis; we had no job; we were needing to move out of where we were living; we had just been told our opportunity to serve overseas with the C&MA was postponed indefinitely.  Our recent past, present, and near future were all a mess.  We still were invited to come to Tallahassee and spend a weekend, and we had no idea what we were going to share.  So we pretty much opened up and shared with the church what we were going through.  I’m sure it was pretty raw, and we didn’t know how the people would respond.  

That’s when it happened.  As I finished that opening meeting, the pastor called some people to pray for us.  I knew we needed prayer and didn’t blame the pastor for praying for these troubled people.  But as they began to pray, both Timbrel and I heard prayer like we’d never heard before.  It was beautiful music that was in tune.  Maybe we had heard others pray like that before in our lives, but this was the first time our ears caught it.  Something was beautiful about the way they prayed for us.  It was with authority, yet was so tender.  It was honest and genuine. That whole weekend, that church wrapped their arms around us in love, encouraged us in prayer, believed in God’s plan for us, blessed us financially, and gave us a plan for learning how to be in tune with God.  We quickly saw that we weren’t there to bless the church or have a missions emphasis weekend.  God had other plans, and we accepted and received the gift He had for us.

That weekend opened up a door for us, and we began to encounter and enjoy God's presence like never before.  We were drawn to this good music, and we wanted to more of it; we wanted to learn it.  Our hearts were drawn to be around the talented musicians who had been around Greatness.  We took the advice of that pastor and jumped in.  Our prayer life changed dramatically as we grasped our identity and began to live in it.  We were set free from so many strongholds. We hung around a lot of “good musicians,” and the secret we're learning is that they, like us, are part of the symphony, but it's the Conductor - He’s the one we really want to be around. The Conductor has welcomed us into His studio, and we are learning first hand from Greatness Himself.

The journey at times has been painful, but we leaned in and began to embrace what God started revealing.  We learned quickly that what God reveals He wants to heal.  He has opened up wound after wound, cleaned them, and applied healing oil to them.  As long as our response was “yes” to Him, we have truly learned that He is gentle and faithful with our vulnerability and honesty.  He is taking us places, and we are walking with Him in faith journeys, both personally and with others, we never would have imagined.  We have learned what Isaiah learned: He doesn’t break a bruised reed, but cares for it as the Master Physician, and makes it strong once again.  He is for us. He is making us whole. He knows what it looks like for us to be in tune with Him - holy as He is holy - doing what we were created to do, joining in the song of heaven and watching His kingdom spread in our surroundings, starting in our own house. 

"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, 
for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."
-Revelation 4:11