“Take Time to Be Holy,” the Spirit challenged me with this year. Let me tell you one way this has proven to be a gift.
The week of April 20 proved to be a busy one. Teaching is a fulltime occupation. Throw in preparing for a substitute and substitute helper for two days so you can go on chorus tour. (The list of typed instructions was eight sides long.) Add a dress rehearsal Tuesday night and madly printing bulletins last minute in sympathy for the procrastinator (actually not me this time) Wednesday afternoon, and one can be pretty flustered by all the little things to do.
Except, God’s peace kept me. Wednesday evening I decided I would just be late for our last practise. I hadn’t missed or been late for one yet.
When I got into my car to go to practise, I listened to the only consistently Christian radio station in our area. Even that one isn’t always the best. For that reason, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Prayer of the Children.” I was delighted to realize that it was the a-cappella men’s group from my area singing. “Thank-you, Lord,” I prayed.
As I drove passed the lake I took in the blazing pink sky and whispered, “God, I hear you.”
The song on the radio changed to a Celtic, instrumental-only version that I had never heard before of “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.” As I listened to the song, the well-known lyrics played in my head. Different parts of the verses had different instruments in focus to match the text. Somewhere in the middle of the second verse the song dissolved into static. After scanning the CD in my player and a local news station and not finding anything worth listening too, I turned my stereo off.
What happened next, can be called crazy or divine.
In the stillness of my car, I heard the last verse of the song. The verse that had dissolved into static and should have been long played out. A verse with pipes emphasizing the phrase, “Why should I gain from His reward?” and a final flourish on “His wounds have paid my ransom.”
I double-checked the power. It was turned off. I listened to the humming of my car, but the song was disconnected to the car’s rhythm. Then, in the stillness, I let it play all over again in my heart.
“I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.”(S. Townend)
I arrived at practice relaxed and ready for the final run-through on a few songs, despite my sore throat.
Stay tuned for Part II.