Sowing Tears, Reaping Joy

Piano

Photo by Tadas Mikuckis on Unsplash

This originally appeared on my personal Facebook page as part of a writing challenge I participated in to stretch my writing:  Five Minute Friday’s 31 DAYS OF FIVE MINUTE FREE WRITES. This is spontaneous writing in only 5 minutes. The word for the day was “Practice.”

“Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy.” Psalm 126:5

I enter the room and it beckons me. I have walked past it many times throughout the day, determined to ignore it. I have refused to entertain the memories that the sight of it evokes, but I cannot avoid it any longer.

Sighing deeply, I pull out the bench, and sit down. I gently open the lid, and slowly, tenderly stroke the ivory keys of the piano.

My eyes mist, knowing that I am a poor substitute for the boy we are both missing. With a sob, my fingertips brush the keys and I articulate for both of us, “This house has been silent for too long.”

They worked in tandem, the two of them. He, forcefully, masterfully, pounding the keys and her, thundering in response, filling the house with resounding melody and harmony.

“You miss him,” I whisper. “I know. I do, too.”

I gently caress the keys, bringing forth a melancholy sound that barely plumbs the depths of our sorrow.

It has been too quiet, for too long.

He never had to be reminded to practice. Thoughts fly quickly back to when he was but seven years old, and the piano, a gift from a dear friend, entered our home.

The boy and the piano became fast friends, spending hours upon hours getting to know each other.

Then the boy was nine, and he challenged himself to memorize every piece of music his teacher gave him to practice, and he was not content until he could play unaided and without flaw.

Then the boy was eleven, and his fingers had grown stronger and he was given complex pieces to memorize, and all the while, the piano kept in perfect step with him, a swirling, breathtakingly beautiful dance of sound.

And then he left. He chose an adventure overseas, leaving a silent house in his wake.

“It has been too quiet, but he’ll be back,” I reassure her. I close the lid and run my hands fondly over the smooth mahogany. “He’ll be back.”

“You have taken account of my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” Psalm 56:8

“You know when I sit and when I rise; You understand my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down; You are aware of all my ways.” Psalm 139:3-4

Unexpected Worship

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Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and bless His name. Psalm 100:3-4

This morning took an unexpected turn.

I am staying in a hotel room, awaiting a training workshop that will begin tomorrow.  I had the idea that I would watch a church service online, and I caught the tail end of one.  The next service would begin 45 minutes later.  While waiting, I decided to check my email.  I found several notifications of an artist’s blog that I recently started following when time permits, and so I happily clicked away.

I was not expecting to have church.  I was expecting to look at a few recent sketches or watercolor paintings.  What I found was a handful of photographs that drew me in, mostly of trees on a riverbank.

I have a fascination with trees.  I can’t name them, haven’t studied them, but they tend to capture my eye when the colors are extraordinary, and especially when the trunks and lower branches are shaped in an unusual way.

I studied the photographs, and then went on to view more of their work, and some of the pieces brought tears to my eyes.  They were breathtaking. I wondered aloud if the Lord looked at this work and felt the same way.  I marveled at the gifts He had given this husband and wife team.

Oh, Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You! Jeremiah 32:17

He has given the same gift to countless others.  They try to recreate what He created with the gifts that He has given them.  Does it bring Him joy to see the fruit of their labor, and His?

I looked around the hotel room.  It’s a beautiful room, and I am thankful to be here.  It was designed by man, but inspired by the creativity of God, whether the designer recognized it or not.

I looked out the window for the hundredth time at the autumn colored leaves (in December!), and saw God’s creative handiwork there, too.  I watched as the copper and golden-colored leaves glinted in the sunshine, and I don’t know how it is possible, but it looked like diamonds were placed amongst the leaves, glittering in the sun as a gentle breeze moved them.  It was breathtaking, watching the leaves dance before my eyes.  I wondered if anyone else noticed, or were they busily going about their day, as I normally would be?

For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

As I poured out my heart to the Lord, my thankfulness for the beauty that surrounds us and the gifts that He gives us could not be contained, and my thankfulness erupted into praise. How marvelous are His works!

I began to wonder what His thoughts were.  Does He look upon His creation in nature as beautiful, but then look at us, also His creation, as less than beautiful because trees don’t sin, but we do?

Immediately I knew in my spirit that He doesn’t see it that way at all.  He looks upon ALL of His creation as beautiful.  That brought me to tears all over again!  We so don’t deserve the love and forgiveness that He generously bestows.

We were created in His image, after all, and He is altogether lovely.  That great love is why He sent His Son, Jesus, Yeshua, to reconcile us to Himself – so that He can have a restored relationship with us.

He has placed gifts in all of us, and when we use them, His creativity is released, again and again.  He didn’t stop creating in the first chapter of Genesis, He is still creating.  Will we choose to be His instruments?

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

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Wait

Wildflowers

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

This originally appeared on my personal Facebook page as part of a writing challenge I participated in to stretch my writing:  Five Minute Friday’s 31 DAYS OF FIVE MINUTE FREE WRITES. This is spontaneous writing in only 5 minutes. The word for the day was “Wait.”

“I wait for the LORD; my soul does wait, and in His word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5

I have always loved wildflowers.  I love the mix of vibrant and muted colors, and the way they appear to be randomly strewn across the ground.  It’s like God Himself reached down with His hand full of flower seeds and scattered them where He wanted a splash of color.  There’s a wildness to them, tamed by no man, yet their beauty shines forth just as their Creator intended.

Have you ever seen a package of wildflower seeds?  A variety of seeds are all mixed together, and you have no idea what flowers are going to grow from the mix.  You plant and wait, and water and wait, and in time their distinct colors, shapes and scents are revealed for all to see.

I have an affinity for a succulent called Desert Rose.  They are my favorite flowers because they thrive on neglect…so even I can grow them.  They don’t bloom very often – mostly after a dry spell, followed by a few days of rain.  When you are fortunate enough to find them in the plant nurseries, they seldom have flowers, and the labels don’t indicate what color flowers will appear.  You take them home, plant, and wait for the surprise.

We are the same!  The times we have the most growth tend to be after dry spells, or times in the wilderness.  We are all in the process of maturing, and we won’t be finished until our time on earth is complete.

Look around and you will see people in stages anywhere from seedlings to mature, flowering shrubs.  We love to comment on the beauty of the fully formed flowers, but aren’t as enthusiastic about the seedlings and the shoots that are without bloom.  We can be impatient, can’t we?  We forget that we were once seedlings ourselves.

Wait.  Have patience.  God is not done with them…or you.

“For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well.” Psalm 139:14

“God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.” Martin Luther