Sometimes We Have to Love Enough to Insist

Guitar 1

I’ve neglected spending time playing my guitar for several years. It’s a mighty fine guitar. I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time in the late 1970’s when a friend wanted to sell it and buy a fancier one. (It was made in 1973, the year Sharon and I were married – neat, huh?)

Over time, I noticed it wasn’t sounding like it once did (more than just my being out of     practice.) Little by little the sound had degraded – a rattle here, a buzz there, dull sounding, a piece of binding coming loose, etc. It still sounded ok, but because it happened slowly over time, the level of degradation wasn’t obvious.

I often mentioned to Sharon that I needed to take it to Randy Wood, but never followed through. (fyi – Randy Wood is a premier instrument maker/customizer/repairer who has built       instruments and done work through the years for Elvis, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, etc. Randy was in the middle of the Nashville scene for years and got tired of the hustle-bustle and somehow ended up with a shop in Bloomingdale, Georgia.)

Last Christmas, after many mentions by me of what I needed to do, Sharon told me what her Christmas present to me was going to be – she was going to insist that I take the guitar to Randy’s shop the first week in January. Those who know me, know that Sharon moving from suggesting and encouraging to insisting on something pretty much makes it a done deal for me. So, I took it in, and it was repaired. It was in bad shape. They reset the neck, glued a couple of braces back into place, reset the binding, cleaned it up and changed the strings. And, the first time I strummed a G chord in its “like new” condition, tears came to my eyes. How wonderful! That’s the way it was made to sound. How could I have let it go like I did?

Many things we let slide aren’t physical, like my guitar, but are spiritual. The first steps in    correcting those are prayer, faith and obedience to God. Another step could be looking for someone with wisdom and life experiences they can use to help us. And, we can look for someone who loves us enough to insist on something (whatever that may be.)
Then, as we go through that process, we can ask God to help us learn enough to become someone else’s “expert” when they need it, and love them enough to insist.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” Hebrews 10:24


As Charlene Darling Said, Songs Can Make Us Cry

English: it is picture of the sheet of the son...

Image via Wikipedia

Many years ago, I attempted song writing. None was worthy of publishing and most have mercifully faded from memory. However, there are two I remember (at least the titles). One was a soulful ballad about commitment, titled: “If I Don’t Leave, Then I Guess I’ll Stay”. The other was a heart-tugging song about unrequited love: “I Did a Belly-Buster in the Swimming Pool of Love”. (Charlene Darling of the old “Andy Griffith Show” would have certainly lamented “Don’t play that one, Pa, it always makes me cry!”)

Several years after those, when our son, Daniel, was still a baby, I made this one up to sing as I tried to get him to sleep (sung to any baby melody you choose):

“All the little gophers in gopher town, they all get together when the sun goes down.

They build a little fire, and dance round and round, all the little gophers in!”

Still probably not worthy of publishing, but I was pleased with the imagery, and Daniel seemed to enjoy it.

It’s difficult to write a good song, especially considering you need to have lyrics and an appropriate melody to go with them. It seems impossible to write a great one. That is one of the reasons so many hymns, old and new, are amazing. The words touch our hearts with their praise for our great and gracious God, pictures of unshakeable faith, and prayers for God’s continuing help. Their accompanying music, whether soaring and broad or simple and quiet, fits perfectly to complement the message.

The background of some of these songs makes them even more amazing: From the well known story of H. G. Spafford writing “It Is Well” on an ocean liner after it passed the spot where his four daughters had recently drowned, to the lesser known circumstances behind Thomas A. Dorsey writing “Precious Lord” after hearing his wife had died in childbirth and the baby had not survived, or “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus” being written by Louisa Stead after her husband drowned trying to save a young boy.

These stories reveal the unshakeable faith of the composers. However, above that, especially when considered with the lyrics of the songs themselves, they reveal the love, mercy, and grace of our God.

All the little gophers in gopher town don’t really get together and dance around the fire after sundown (at least I don’t think they do). But, the Lord’s love, mercy and grace is real. It’s shown clearly when we hear that whether we’re in peace like a river, or in sorrows like a stormy sea, God makes us able to say: “It is well with my soul”; or, we cry out to the Lord to take our hand because we’re tired, weary and worn; or we affirm that it truly is sweet to trust in Jesus and know He is with us to the end. And, when God takes the song and reinforces that reality in our heart at just the right moment and for just the right reason, it can make us cry.