“GRACIOUS LORD, you sang all that exists into being:
give me a voice to sing your praise in all that I do,
a heart to seek harmony with all your creation,
and a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving
to tune my heart to the keynote of my life,
my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
For those of us who are not musically endowed, we need a tuner to tune our ukuleles. Likewise, we need the bible to tune our hearts to Jesus Christ who is the keynote of our lives. Another way of tuning the ukulele is to listen to the sound of each string if one has a musical mind. Similarly, we can also tune our hearts by paying attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The primary objective of tuning our hearts is to live our lives in the will of God.
Unfortunately, the primary focus of our Christian faith and teaching is skewed towards DOING the will of God instead of BEING in the will of God. The bible tells us very clearly what the will of God is. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we read:
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
On 11 November 2011, Mary and I had to learn to put this teaching into practice. I had gone to the Queenstown Library to borrow a book while Mary waited in the car for me. A few minutes later she heard a cracking sound and found that the window on the driver’s side breaking up for no rhyme or reason. She got out of the car and the whole window broke up and filled the driver’s seat with pieces of glass. It was a totally unexpected and unexplainable event that totally disrupted our lives for the rest of that day. We cannot be thankful FOR what happened. However, it was an opportunity to learn to give thanks IN an adverse situation.
Why do we need to be thankful in all circumstances? Firstly it is to remind us that we are in the midst of a spiritual warfare. Jesus tells us that in this life we will have tribulations - but we can be of good cheer for He has overcome the world. Secondly it is to prepare us for attacks from the evil one. A motorcyclist saw what happened and told us that we were very lucky! He had seen our car number and found that it added to 11 and that day was 11th November. He was noted, which we were not even conscious of, that Mary was wearing a red blouse and I was wearing a red T shirt! He was in effect telling us we are going to strike rich in the 4D lottery! We were tempted to go and buy a 4D ticket. It was a time to stand on the truth that Christ has already won the victory and the battle is not ours but the Lord’s.
Thirdly, it is to remind us of the grace and peace that is to be found in the surrender of all our lives to God. Finally, it is an opportunity to testify and give glory to God for His amazing Love. We were thankful that Mary was unhurt. We were thankful that we were able to drive to the Honda service centre at Mandai and back home in good weather. We were also thankful that the mechanic helped us to clean up the broken glass in the car.
Giving thanks in trying times and difficult circumstances is a simple habit but one that needs faith and practice to cultivate. Tuning a new ukulele can be a problem when we are not familiar with the instrument and we are afraid of breaking the strings. On one occasion I was struggling to tune the ukulele until I realized that I was turning the screw for the wrong string!
The experience taught me to listen to the promises of God by using negative circumstances that steal my joy as opportunities to tune in to joy of our salvation by giving thanks for Christ’s promise that He is with us in all circumstances. Giving thanks does not make one a saint nor is it a formula to get God’s blessings. It is to help us to live our lives from God's perspective so that we will be able to face the storms of life without fear and with the peace that is beyond human understanding. It is to empower us to live with the joy unspeakable and to sing the symphony of God's love with our lives.