Jack London wrote, “I'd rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it, than live a thousand years ...” Yet, I think we are more likely to live a thousand years and incoherently whisper a muted refrain with our last dying breath. You see, life is a terminal condition. We should not rush to finish it, nor should we strive to keep it. In the time we are given though, we should sing that one wild song we, and we alone, were meant to sing. Silence does not echo, here on earth or in eternity. And when we shuffle off this mortal coil all that can remain is the echo of our song.
So why do so many of us leave our songs left unsung?
Imagine this. Imagine an orchestra in an auditorium so packed that people are standing in the aisles prepared to hear beautiful music. Everyone has turned out. The rich people are sitting in their boxes. The poor people are crowding the doors. The conductor takes a solemn bow and faces his musicians. He smiles to himself, thinking how wonderful each of them sounded practicing in private, delighted that they'll finally get to share with the public. With a flair, he raises his hands and begins to gesture passionately. Nothing happens. Then there is a stuttering start. It does not sound good at all. Each musician is in his own rhythm, completely ignoring the maestro. The crowd that came to hear a symphony can only stand the cacophony for so long. Eventually the auditorium is empty and silent as every musician gives up in frustration and desperation.
How many of us are musicians who think we know better than our maestro? I know that I find myself in that position more often than I would like to admit. I find myself believing that just because I've been made first chair by the conductor, I must be more qualified than he to play my music. Sadly, I often don't realize this until I witness the auditorium emptying.
Just recently I was in this place. I had been watching my master. Then I got distracted and stopped. Rather than going one measure at a time, I was in a manic frenzy to do it all at once or none of it at all. I vacillated between the song I thought best and no song at all, finally defaulting to no song at all as I became aware that I lacked the brilliance and creativity of my maestro.
And that is how we leave the songs we were meant for unsung. We stop paying attention and before we know it we're whispering an imitation of our masterpiece on our deathbeds. Our only hope is to start paying attention before life catches up to us. Fortunately, we have a conductor who never stops gesturing to get our attention. Whatever bar we choose to enter on we are welcome. Regardless, all of our songs will culminate. The choice is ours for it to be a song that bursts our hearts with intensity or echoes faintly as a whimper that barely escapes.
Stripping away the analogy of music, what I'm really saying is God is speaking. If we are not listening, then we need to be. If we are listening, then we need to be responding. He is leading; we need to be following. Follow the direction that He is leading. Even when you don't understand. Especially when you don't understand. It will probably be more wild than we could have expected. If we're faithful we may burst our hearts before a thousand years of silence has passed without an echo.
Life is such that if we rely solely upon ourselves we are quickly overcome by worries and woes. Yet if we fix our eyes on God we find the truth of Jeremiah 29:11-14.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
Our God is not only a masterful conductor, but a brilliant composer as well. In each of us there is a melody that He composed just for us. However, we, ourselves more than any circumstance, are apt to lock it away. That melody is what He wants to see set free with His love.
John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” It's a statement I believe is true, but that doesn't mean I always remember it. The first time I read that, it shocked me. I thought, God is glorified, just when we find satisfaction in Him? Surely that can't be! But surely it is. When we simply listen and respond to God we are satisfied and He is glorified.
The benefit of that communion is often mirrored in our relationships with other people. So, if ever it seems the auditorium of our lives is emptying, it should be an indication that something is wrong between the musician and the maestro. Yet, don't be discouraged, God is always inviting us to jump in on the next measure, in order to bring us back from our captivity.
Written by Ben Machia, 27 October 2014