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Thoughts from a Musician's Heart

"Accelerando, God?"

As a child, I loved playing the piano fast. My teacher would always tell me to slow down,

to not rush. I told her I didn’t like playing the slow movements. She told me that when I grew older I would enjoy the slower movements more. But as a teenager I had a performance reviewed in the local newspaper in which I was described as “fleet-fingered.” And then in college I had fun playing the keyboard part of John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine ! So much for enjoying the slow pieces!

As I grow older I do enjoy slower music more, but I still struggle with impatience. I want

things done immediately. I want answers, solutions, projects completed in a timely manner, goals met easily and quickly. This year has been especially trying. I have needed to slow down and put projects on hold, to wait and wonder how things will turn out, if we will survive. God recently has pressed the word “wait” in my heart for this time of frustration.

It is hard to wait, but the Holy Scriptures speak about waiting as a spiritual process. In Psalm 37 we are told to “ Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” instead of “fretting” over evildoers, something else I struggle with.

Lam 3:26 says “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Wait

quietly? What if I feel like kicking and screaming? Sometimes the only difference between me and my kids is that I can disguise my tantrums better.

Psalm 73 describes the perspective one receives after waiting. With time we see that

God is a God of justice and that earthly power does not mean as much as we think. With time we can come to see what has true value in life, that is, our relationship with God. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? None else on earth I long to know…” Psalm 27:14 says, “ Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Waiting takes courage and strength. It also involves being active, not passive.

As musicians we know what it means to wait. We practice for hours to get a piece ready

for performance. We work on our technique for years and spend months memorizing a recital program. This is a form of waiting - actively and expectantly for an end result. Why is it hard to wait on God when we know that great things take time to be revealed, while as musicians we don’t expect our performances to be ready overnight?

I think it has to do with knowing the character of God, believing that he is truly loving, in

control and always good. Our impatience may mean we have forgotten these attributes. Just as when I rush the piece I am practicing I forget how beautiful it will be. Or just as I fail to enjoy the slow parts when I forget to stop and smell those fragrant chords.

Waiting can be painful, especially for long unanswered prayers. But like musicians we

can also learn to find joy in the process and keep our eyes on the beauty to come. We may not see all the beauty till we are home in heaven, but the patience will be worth it.

I Peter 3:9 says God is not slow (!!!) and that He is patient with us. His timing is perfect.

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