If this didn’t keep happening, I wouldn’t keep writing these music articles. But it keeps happening, so here we go.
Today I was busy working, sitting at my desk in my own little world. I am not sure if it is the first cup of caffeine of the day or just my somewhat habitually neurotic mindset, but I started thinking again. There go those thoughts, whirling around in the half empty space between my ears, waiting to overrun my self-control and turn me back to the whirlwind of worry. Why does that happen? I wish I knew. You would think that with the type of job I have, I would have to fully concentrate on each word that I type–but no, I have mastered a split-concentration method of typing. Half work, half worry.
I am a bit of a worrier by nature, you see. My parents ran a pretty tight ship growing up. Extremely practical, hard working, planners to the nth degree. That is, until my little brother was diagnosed with cancer in 1967. Robbie was only eight months old. He was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, which is a form of childhood cancer that is mostly treatable now, but it had taken our family and dumped us in a very bad place. All the planning and provisions went out the window.
Only then in their late 20s and early 30s, my mom and dad were dealing with a parent’s worst nightmare–the terminal illness and possible death of a child. Robbie was given six months to live. He lived two and a half more years. He was barely past three years old when he entered God’s Kingdom. That little angel of a boy was the bravest three-year-old God ever put on this earth. Even his doctors and nurses were astonished when Robbie was poked and prodded, looking for a vein in a myriad of collapsed veins, and he rarely even winced. Not a tear. He was a soldier, a trooper, a little angel.
Robbie’s death sent our family into a tailspin. I became gripped with fear–a kindergartner who did not want to be away from her mother. (Afraid at school, afraid at home.) Always in the back of my mind, I believe, I was wondering who was going to leave next. I was blessed though. My parents were very protective and made sure I only knew what I needed to know, and I thank them for that. My mother has told me numerous times about the steps she took to try to control Robbie’s illness and treatment. She called nearly every, children’s hospital in the nation including Saint Jude’s, and was turned away over and over.
One doctor went so far as to tell her, “Lady, there are worse things than death. Your son is receiving the best of care at your hospital so I would recommend you stay there.” Exasperated and angry, she flung a laundry basket full of clothes across the lawn (in the days of clotheslines). She tells me a warm embrace of peace came over her that she will never forget. And she gave it up to God.
I had not really planned on putting all that in this article, but it just poured out. My story was about MY problem with control and being in control. Why is it so hard sometimes to just give it over to God? Letting go of our troubles and doubts is such a difficult thing to do. Sometimes I just think, “I will handle this—God does not need to deal with my minutia.” But that is what God does. He knows the minutia before it is minutia. He has already dealt with it and ironed it out for us. I wonder why do we do this to ourselves?
So there I was, sitting at my desk today, working myself up into another late morning frenzy, mentally trying to finagle a way to ensure my job circumstances, and I decide it is time for a break. The sun is peaking through the clouds—I think I will go walk. But before I do, I pick up my little devotional book by Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest and read one page. The title of the lesson today is, “The Dilemma of Obedience.” The author aptly describes how we need to ask God to speak to us. He says we need to get into the habit of saying “Speak, Lord.” Then we need to take the time to listen! That is the hard part for me. I never listen—I am too busy finagling.
So I finish the page, sincerely utter the words, “Speak, Lord” and I go outside. I turn on my music player, which is halfway through a song when it comes on. The first words I hear are: “What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms?” Would you have cracked up? I did, knowing immediately that God was providing me with material for yet another hymn-inspired article. (I can’t help myself.)
So that’s my story of the day. I asked God to speak and He did. Did He provide me any answers to my critical state of affairs? No, not yet. But He did what He does. He led me. He reminded me that He is in control. I am not.
A couple hours later, I received an email from my boss, which was fairly upbeat in the prospect of this work situation. So I would say God spoke to me twice today. I would say I kind of felt that warm embrace of peace that my mother felt so long ago, although maybe not as profoundly as she did at that moment. But even a tiny embrace from God is profound, isn’t it?
God works with us so gently. If only we could love Him the way He loves us. It should be our perpetual goal. It should be the purpose of every heartbeat—giving God the love and attention that He so willingly and freely gives to us. I am going to make this my focus. We probably do not have much time before Jesus calls for us, so why not use it adoring Him? Worrying or worshiping? Really, which one would you rather do? That’s an easy one.