Sometimes your now curmudgeonly heart needs to encounter something that will make it soft again, and remind you of those things that formerly made your heart sing. This night, it was music that did it for me, though I might have missed it had I given into the “logical” side of my mind that likes to weigh the usefulness and practicality of most things. I think I had somehow begun to forget that which I thought was essential to my being: that art and music and beauty are so vital to life, because they point us to the reality of a God who is beautiful in ways beyond what we can imagine. Well-crafted music is so mystifying and “impractical” in some senses, but it’s something that gives so much satisfaction to the soul and reminds you of the reality of a life that goes beyond whatever moment in which you might currently feel stuck.
On this night I was at a worship concert, and I sat with my eyes closed and absorbed the beauty that was filling the place, melting a little bit when the strings joined in. There was no real paint in sight with which to satisfy my sudden intense desire to create, so I began painting scenes in my mind, and imagining just how wonderful Heaven is going to sound if this much wonder can exist on our fallen earth. When my eyes were open, they were looking around at the old theater with all of its intricate decorations. I was especially fixated on the gilded figures above the stage, for in the low lighting they appeared as angels dancing with joy.
Then we came to the next set of songs, and here it was not the music but the lyrics of truth that wedged themselves into my heart and broke away its hard shell from the inside. They were words that first reminded me that no matter what happens, no matter who leaves me, no matter who lets me down, no matter how many times I let myself down, that He is there. He came, and He will not leave. My lips were finally able to utter again in complete sincerity a declaration that He is good; one that spit in the face of all the lies that screamed at me saying that He is anything but. I was led to declare that though I know the depths of my weakness, I am able to remain steadfast in Him, because His Spirit is within me. I walked away feeling more stable than I have in a long time, all because God used “impractical” music and lyric and story and beauty that was grounded in truth to work restoration in a way that the so called “practical” things of life could not presently do for me.
So dear reader, if your heart longs to engage in music or art or storytelling, ground it in truth, give it to God, and see how He might use your “impractical” gift to accomplish very practical purposes.
[If you want to know what I was listening to, check out Molly Kate Skaggs’ Album “Overtaken” if you also want to melt into a puddle, as well as “Beautiful Surrender” by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser]