Don’t do this at your home! Coming distractedly down our uncarpeted tile stairs some years ago, I missed a few of the last steps and fell, painfully spraining my ankle. The good thing about the situation was the first thing out of my mouth. “Thank You, Lord!” I sang out.
I was surprised and happy when “Thank You, Lord!” came out at such a painful moment, not another kind of “music.” A few years before that, I had tried to make a habit of 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Thankfully the habit held. My ankle hurt, but my heart was joyful!
I still argue with God about saying “Thank You” when I don’t understand why something is happening. But I have learned that thanking Him anyway takes the sting out of difficult times. Thanking Him says, “I trust You. You know why. You know best.”
When we lived in the Philippines, my husband Ed made frequent trips around Asia as he assisted our ministry leaders. Each trip was an opportunity for me to trust the Lord as I stayed behind with the children. Sometimes I asked Ed, “What if you don’t come back?” I’ll never forget his answer the first time. “God will have something better for you,” he said.
Usually I did trust the Lord with Ed’s safety, but during one of his trips, for some reason it was as though I decided to worry. I worried the entire time he was gone. Strangely, when he came back safely, I still felt grim. I could not rejoice as I always had before.
God’s peace is the result of trust. The Apostle Paul taught God’s promise:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, emphases mine).
God’s peace is our supernatural right as His children, no matter what is happening. When I worried, I chose to reject His peace. I decided never to do that again! It was such a strong lesson that I haven’t worried very often since, at least when Ed travels.
Tests and pandemic trials
Serving God, we will face different tests of our faith. They may be opportunities to entrust a loved one to His care, as I did with Ed, or they may be more painful trials. For example, these long months of dealing with Covid-19 have been hard. Working at home, I have found myself missing the sound of a co-worker’s voice and even the people I would see only once in a while at the office. Job loss, social isolation, working or attending school in a mask, distance from family members while they are ill or dying…these are trying times.
Recently, to fortify my faith during another set of difficult circumstances, I memorized 1 Peter 1:3-9, which contains these interesting verses about trials:
In this [your secure salvation] you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (verses 6-7, emphasis mine).
“If necessary”?! Why would any trial be necessary? The Apostle Peter explains: God is refining our faith. To Him, our faith is more precious than gold. He doesn’t allow testing and trials in our lives randomly, for the fun of it. He is a compassionate God and Father.
As a good parent, He cares so deeply for us that He allows some pain to help us grow. But at all times He wants us to enjoy the peace of those who trust Him with every part of our lives — even the unusual circumstances of these days.
A few weeks ago the Lord reminded me about peace through music. Ed and I had come across a new kind of Youtube videos while looking up some of the classical music we love. In these videos you can follow along with the musical scores while famous classical pieces are playing. As a pianist, singer, occasional choir conductor and Scripture song composer ☺, I don’t remember ever before really looking at an orchestra score showing the notes for 19 kinds of instrumentalists playing simultaneously.
As this wonderful music played and I followed along, tears sprang into my eyes. Thinking of the genius of the composers, who realized how each instrument could contribute to the beauty of the entire piece, was incredibly moving to me. I can’t imagine writing or conducting this music; you could hardly even follow the notes of just one instrument when the orchestra played quickly.
God is the ultimate genius of all Composers. He knows how each part of our lives should fit with the others, and the perfect part for us to play at every moment. We can trust Him, playing the music He has written for us, or we can throw it in the air and stalk off, saying, “It’s too difficult,” “It’s too fast,” or “You didn’t know what You were doing when You wrote this part for me.” Yes, we can do that. We can choose to be grim or worry or curse.
Anyone can play those discordant notes. The world expects to hear them from people who are going through times of testing. But we who know Jesus can play a different kind of music. The music that says God has something better for me, no matter what happens. The music of a peaceful heart even in difficult times — people will notice that. Then we can tell them about this different music we are learning to play.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find we will weep one day, seeing how the music of all the different pieces of our lives fits together. The challenges to our faith, the painful episodes, the pandemic of 2020…yes, even those. We’ll know beyond the shadow of a doubt that our Lord’s orchestration was flawless, after all.
Lord Jesus, may the beautiful music of thankfulness, trust and peace in my life help others know You. And may my faith, shining brighter than gold, bring You praise and glory and honor at Your coming.
If you’d like to learn my Scripture song for 1 Peter 1:3-9, here it is, with love:
If you haven’t discovered life in Christ, don’t hesitate to check it out. Life is too short to miss His love and perfect plan for you. Read About “The Nearness of God” or see everyperson.com for more information. You can also read my story of coming to faith in Christ in: How My Song Began.