A few days ago I woke up extra early and decided to enjoy the luxury of lying in bed listening to some hymns on my mp3 player. It certainly was lovely—the perfect way to begin a Sunday morning.
The music swirled through my earbuds, lifting my soul to think of God and to rejoice in Him and marvel at His works. Usually when I listen to music I’m in the car or working in the kitchen, with lots of background noise, so I miss the finer points of the music. But lying here in the silent room, I could hear the delicate musical devices, balanced by tasteful strokes in the bass. I let myself be lost in the music and the delicious sensation of absolute rest.
Suddenly, it all stopped. My earbuds had come unplugged from the mp3 player. I was lying in a silent, pitch-black room. The magic was gone.
I fumbled for the cord, and plugged it back in, and the music swirled on, picking up a few measures from where I had left off. It hadn’t stopped, of course. I had just unplugged.
What a lesson. I sit by my window at night, looking out on the little valley that is our town, watching a few cars drive by on the road. We live in a rural area, so there aren’t many lights to defy the darkness of the night. Yet the darkness is far deeper than night. Broken homes, broken dreams, broken promises, broken bodies, broken social systems, broken resolutions, so very many broken hearts, and all of this multiplied in every little valley in every country across this broken earth. And I know that my grief is only a drop in the vast river of tears that have been wept down through the centuries.
But is it possible that, existing in parallel with this broken weeping world, there is another world of rejoicing and hope? Is there music being sung somewhere, if only we could “plug in?”
I open my Bible and find the answer. The music swirls around me. Not an absence of sorrow, for here are tones of the greatest sorrow of all, the sorrow of Love rejected and hung on a cross. Yet that very cry of agony ends in the triumphant cry of new life. And the music swirls on, jubilant and victorious. It sings of a Child born, and a King triumphant, of a bride won, and a bridegroom satisfied, of a battle fought and the last enemy conquered. It sings of a plan accomplished and a work finished, of a son come home and a lost sheep found, of a home filled and a table laid, of promises completed and hopes fulfilled. The song goes on, and the singer is God Himself, to tell of Love at last rewarded, and faith at last made sight, and hope fulfilled beyond our dreams. The rich strains span all of time and eternity, one harmonious whole in which every note makes sense. The voices of the morning stars that sang together before the beginning of the world, are mingled with angelic jubilation over sinners repented, and answered by the countless voices of those saved ones themselves, worshiping the Lamb Who is worthy. The trumpets at the walls of Jericho, and the harp of David, mingle with the voice of the last trumpet and the harps of the elders in heaven.
Sorrow is woven all through the song, and yet it is sorrow that has fulfilled its purpose. This is not a song of frustration, but of victory. It is not the song of well-laid plans gone awry, but the song of a perfect plan fulfilled just as expected. The pace is measured, not too fast and not too slow. Not a note is hurried, nor does a single note lag. The conductor is perfectly in control of his orchestra, though the instruments range from the devil himself, to the created world of nature, to mankind, to angelic hosts, to the very Son of God.
Is it possible that this song is being sung even now, as I look out at the dark valley and feel the weight of a collapsing society and a disintegrating world, pressing in on me? Surely the sacred pages answer, “Yes,” and remind me that that world is, after all, more real than this. That song of the triumph of God was being sung long before this little world hung in space, and it will continue long after the stage has been dismantled and the blood-bought singers gathered home. I can take my place even now in that choir, and add my voice to the chorus, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." (Revelation 5:13) All I have to do is plug in.