Wednesday, September 25th 2013

I’ve been back ‘home’ in Worcester for a week, and one of the first unwelcome adversaries to contend with was the noticeably darker nights. Annie never really enjoyed this foible of the season. It was true before her illness and especially true during it. The pain of cancer wasn’t a nocturnal beast and in the latter years it didn’t hibernate for long periods but it seemed that much more difficult to endure in the cold, dark evenings of autumn and winter.

It’s only been a week but facing this season without Annie, I often wish I could curl up and wake up again in spring. The house seems so much more empty and flat and cold at this time. And not even my memories can help me escape. My memories of Annie also change with the seasons. It was autumn 2011 when Annie got her terminal diagnosis and somehow, no memory I have escapes the shadow of that period. And I cannot escape my memories! The colour of the trees, the feel of the air, the clothes that I wear…these all usher in those past, seasonal memories. Those memories can sometimes be so vivid I find myself clothed with the exact feelings I had at this time when she was lying down in her bed of sickness.

I often find that music is a great way to fill some of the gap, particularly – exclusively, even – Christian music. Music always had – and has – a special place in my life and in my marriage with Annie. It’s had a very special – important, even – place in my walk with the Lord too and it continues to do so.

I once read a Christian article about music which was as fascinating as it was frustrating. I cannot remember the title but it almost could have been entitled ‘Music is evil’. Rooting most of its reasoning in the bio-mechanics of the inner-ear – it successfully managed to explain away all the God-given mystery and beauty and application of music and the way it interacts with human beings. I appreciated the real concerns the author had about Christians and churches replacing the Word of God with music, trading spirituality with sentimentality. What I couldn’t appreciate was the idea that music had no place at all in our spirituality.

I am not going to develop a counter-response in this post. The Old and New Testament are not absent of references to song and music (and dance!). We are extremely joyful people after all! There’s just one small reference in particular that I have often meditated on when thinking about how man, music, ministry, the message and our Maker harmonise:

And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon [Elisha] and he said, “This is what the LORD says…”- 2 Kings 3:15,16

This afternoon I had the local Christian radio station on in the background and my soul was really caught by the lyrics of a song. It reminded me of the song that we played during Annie’s Thanksgiving Service called “Blessings” by Laura Story. I thank God for songs like this. I thank the Creator God for the gift of His Word and His Son. I also thank Him for the gifts He gives to Kingdom poets and musicians who redeem those areas with Truth and testimony.

I am not gifted with the ability to articulate things concisely. You may have noticed that if you have followed the blog or been in the room when I preach! I desire to articulate God’s truth faithfully and transparently as a testimony, but there’s a long road ahead – and behind – to me becoming succinct. However, many of these Kingdom artists, have that gift of testifying rare and precious truths in sermons that last no more than five minutes.

I found that the words of this song really condense much of this blog and my life – even today.

In His Arms,

r

“Even If”

Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You are

Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t come

Lord we know Your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
Even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
And we rest in who You are

Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t come

You’re still the Great and Mighty One
We trust You always
You’re working all things for our good
We’ll sing your praise

Even if the healing doesn’t come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn’t come

You are God and we will bless You
As the Good and Faithful One
You are God and we will bless You
Even if the healing doesn’t come
Even if the healing doesn’t come

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7 thoughts on “Wednesday, September 25th 2013

  1. You don’t actually know us, Ryan, because it was only Annie that we knew (at Hayes Town Chapel in the 1980s), but we do still read your blog and pray for you regularly. The dark nights can indeed have a depressing effect, and in your case especially so. We do feel for you. .

  2. Oh Ryan, how long and bittersweet these days must be for you without your Annie, memories can evoke in us such joy but also much Godly sorrow, you remain ever in our Prayers, Psalm 16.3
    Love in Jesus Tricia (South Africa)

  3. Great song, I hear it often on UCB and the words are so true, when our life feels like it is falling apart and not taking the path we had hoped or dreamed, God is good and He only knows best and His path, if we stay on it, will always lead us Home to Him. joyx

  4. Thanks for posting this Ry. Very fitting. Thx for mondays as well, i enjoyed working thru that chapter in Acts with you before work that day.

  5. The truth always reaches to the depths of our hearts and takes us right back to Jesus. Thank you. Love Gill and Mark.

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