That awkward moment when you’re in the department store and a Christmas carol you love, which is actually about Christmas starts playing and you spontaneously begin singing along only to realize that not only are you singing out loud but you’re completely out of tune. So you keep singing but slowly decrease in volume so everyone thinks you meant to sing out loud and out of tune. Of course, I’m always out of tune so that part doesn’t really bother me anymore. In fact, I’ve stopped even trying to sing in tune now.
That same thing happens in our spiritual lives too doesn’t it? We get out of tune spiritually, through our active choices to sin, our passive choices to watch T.V. instead of pray, through someone else’s actions that hurt us and dislodge us from our comfortable and routine faith. Sometimes it’s a combo of all of the above hitting us at once. But whatever the reason, we get knocked out of tune with God and often don’t even realize it. We’re just walking through the aisle of life singing along and suddenly look up and realize we not even singing the same song anymore.
I’ve known so many young people who started out singing the most beautiful song with their lives only to lose the song along the way; I was one of them. I was blessed though to encounter some truly remarkable “singers” along the way who helped me get back in tune. Probably the most important lesson they taught me was that of regular confession. Nothing in this life can retune your song as quickly or effectively as confession. Of course, by itself Reconciliation isn’t sufficient. There is no simple silver bullet that’ll slay the howling wolf inside us and make our song perfect. God’s grace is sufficient, yes. But God, in his infinite wisdom, made our salvation into a beautiful symphony, not just a solo.
Just as everything in creation was designed to work together in harmony to bring about God’s glory, so to our spiritual lives. Reconciliation, spiritual direction, community life, frequent reception of the Eucharist, adoration, silence, humility, Scripture, prayer, trust and on and on, all play important parts in keeping our spiritual lives in tune with God’s song. Sometimes though, nothing seems to work and it’s a matter of faith, of placing one foot in front of the other, trusting in God’s will. It’s in those times where we begin to understand the meaning behind the words we sing. It’s like when you discover the actual words to a song you’ve been singing your whole life and they’re completely different from what you though they were. Then the song actually makes sense.
In those dark nights when you feel abandoned or lost, as you place one faithful foot in front of the other, you gain clarity. As painful as it may be those faithful, weak steps reveal to us the truth and depth of his love for us. His thirst for you is so utterly complete that he would risk losing you so that you could truly love him in return.
It is not that he abandons us in those moments but rather, he is drawing ever closer; closer to us than we are to ourselves. We just don’t feel or see it. Our emotions, beautiful gifts of God that they are, cloud our vision, are like static on the radio, distorting our song. So he clears away the static of our emotions and senses so that we can hear his song over us clearly.
But no matter where you are in your song, it’s wise to keep an ear out for the tune. It’s all too easy to get distracted or lost in our spiritual songs. And remember, it’s never too late to pick the song back up, even after it’s been dropped for the hundredth time, the thousandth time. That’s the beauty of His song for you… it not only sets the rhythm of our lives, it adjusts and incorporates those missed notes, dropped beats and out of tune vocals.
Matt Redman’s: “The Father’s Song”