It’s a cold, snowy day here. It’s gloomy. It feels like a ghost town... no one is outside, on the roads or roaming the malls. Everyone has retreated from the storm to their shelter to find warmth, hope and Sabbath. It’s a day that begs for a fire and an overstuffed leather spider web that some would refer to as a chair. I succumb with journal, iPod and tattered Bible sipping in full sagely form cup after cup of a steaming Sumatra rain forest that some would refer to as coffee… and then, later in the day, as the snow accumulates, the sun and temperature drop and an unrepentant wind kicks up, a pint of New Belgium 1554. And then another.
Though my iPod is set on “Shuffle” there is absolutely nothing random about the songs playing. The One True and Sovereign God who’s greatest joy is to overwhelm us with His glory and the ecstasy and fullness of His presence is gigging as a DJ stacking the deck with a playlist of songs transporting me back through time celebrating the romance we’ve enjoyed over the years.
It’s always stunning when and how God shows up.
There are so many different ways—so many odd, unique and familiar venues/elements that become the point of communion with God for us. God meets some on trails, some in books or gardening, in silence, tinkering in a woodshop, bowling, writing poetry or perhaps painting. Music is one of mine. It always has been. God has immediate and easy access to my heart through all kinds of music. One of my pictures of heaven includes an epic sound system with no limits on volume blasting tunes that have us all moving and grooving in some holy, passionate wonderful way that celebrates the flat-on-your-face adoration and worship of God. Kind of a sanctified Woodstock without the drugs, rain and meaninglessness… with much, much better music. Kinda.
At some point in the “Random” playlist of:
- “Everything” (by Tim Hughes),
- “Summer of ‘69” (Bryan Adams)
- “Flight Over Africa” from the “Out of Africa” soundtrack.
- Ashley Cleveland’s “Gimme Shelter”.
- The live version of “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For” (on the "Rattle & Hum" CD).
- Our God Reigns” (sung by Tomlin, Charlie Hall, David Crowder & Matt Redman on the “Everything Glorious” CD)
I’m hopelessly lost in my desire to live as I’ve never have. God is here!
Song after song transports me back to the events/people/themes of my life. For hours, between mugs of Joe and one funky attempt to make nachos, the music becomes a link to the long winding road that is my journey. My earliest dreams and aspirations, the wayward years, the raw naked memories of the precipice I stood over screaming out for rescue. The music stirs the innumerable memories of God behind the scenes romancing me, luring me, forever patient and relentless with me in my idolatry, my desperate efforts to change the world, my vanity and tainted "righteousness".
I am totally captive to a leather sea anemone that some would refer to as a chair... rocking the neighborhood with unheard decibel levels… in His presence feeling all the appropriate emotions that come from the clear and unarguable recognition of how very, very far I fall short.
At the same time I sense His smile over me as we reflect on those times I've lived like a warrior king and then, all too quickly, I relate like a hibernating badger who only engages with the outside world by barking away all disruptors.
The music brought to my fireside seat so many of my adventures, births, joys, tears, vows and lingering desires, the laughter and pleasures I've known; my profound brokenness; and the glorious offering my life was intended to be.
Paul Simon, Bob Seger, Shawn Mullins and Janis all stirred up stories that are my story. A life, presently, that’s the best it’s ever been despite the sins, chaos and failures to love and live well is, nonetheless, so very rich with a litany of transcendent moments of intimacies with my Father, my wife, my family… and my friends.
I no longer hear the music; all I hear is his invitation to more.
I love days like this.
"They" say this storm could last another day or two. Amen!