Whenever I hear this hymn I am transported back to my childhood. It is Friday evening, the sun is setting, and I am sitting on my Grandparents sofa. My Great-grandmother is sitting on the lazy boy rocker. Her hair is white as snow and her memory is in the first stages of fading away. My Grandmother is sitting to her right on a wooden rocker and my Grandfather is on the sofa nearest to the light.
With hymn books in hand we have gathered in the small living room to join together in worship to welcome the Sabbath. The fact that my Father, sister, and I barely know a word of Spanish does not matter, because unlike my Great-Grandmother and Grandfather, my Grandmother can only speak a little bit of English.
Our ability to communicate with her without the aid of my Mother or Grandfather to translate is limited. Making it impossible to sit down and freely speak with her as we would like. But for that one moment, as we sat down for worship and lifted our voices in song the communication gap was gone.
It is true that we did not understand all words, but that did not matter because we knew that it was hymn of praise to God. And oh what a glorious moment as we lifted our voices. For that brief moment the language barrier seemed to fade as our voice united in praise to God and by faith our hearts were carried to that glorious day when Jesus would return and at last we would be free to sit and talk. The language barrier would be no more, and the words that we had spent a lifetime longing to share would at last be able to freely flow.
As I listen to the words of Cantad algres al Senor, my heart beats with delight as I remember those precious few evenings. With cloudy eyes I think back to the joy that filled my heart and how I miss those Friday nights. For sadly those evenings are no more as both my Great-Grandmother and my Grandfather now lay quietly in the tomb waiting for that longed for day when Jesus shall call them forth to take part in that glorious family reunion wherwe shall once again lift up our voices to sing praises to our King.
I know that it has been quite awhile since my last post. I have wanted to post for quite some time, but have been enduring a rather strong flare up that has left me curled up in a tight ball for days on end. Leaving me little time to accomplish important task like helping with the dishes or assisting with the family budget. By the time I was ready to log onto Word Press my small bank account of energy had been overdrawn and it was not long before I had to turn off the laptop and curl up in a tight ball once more.
The past few months have been far from easy. Filled with long days of pain, fatigue, miserable migraines, the intense body chill of Reynolds, and a slowly increasing heart rate it seemed at times like someone pressed the pause button for my life. Though it has not been easy, I had one great comfort. The sustaining trust that I was not going through the hour of trial alone. My confidence that every groan, every ache, every tear of misery had been marked by Jesus.
In those long hours of suffering I found myself often thinking of what it must have been like for Jesus during those last few hours before the cross. My iron low leaving me cold and struggling to get the strength to walk the few feet from my room to the sofa, I wondered how after being beaten multiple times and having already lost a fair quantity of blood, Jesus endured what must have felt like an eternal walk from Jerusalem to Golgotha. Then, weak and in great physical pain he was hoisted upon a crude cross.
I know that Halloween was a few days ago, but a few videos that I came across got me to thinking about this day. In the home I grew up in Halloween was not an issue. My parents had from an early age taught my sister and I that Halloween was not a day that we as Christians could safely participate in. Well they did not full comprehend the reasons for and against, my parents gave us the best explanation that they could to provide us with an understanding that the main elements of Halloween such as dressing up as devils, and decorating the yard with skeletons and witches, was contrary to the word of God.
It was not until my late teens, when we came across several programs discussing the occult connections of Halloween, that my family began to get a fuller understanding of Halloween and how deeply it stood in contrast to the plain word of God. And I at last began to formulate an answer to the question why my family and I did not participate in this increasingly popular holiday. Watching those videos I began to understand that the reasons for abstaining from this day had less to do with inappropriate costumes, and more to do with its ties to elements the Bible banned such as contacting the dead and spirits as well as spells and divining fortunes.
As I see the strange events happening all around me, it moves my heart. I feel a deep ache as I think about the millions and billions of people out there who have never heard of the love of God. Or worse yet, by the poor example of world loving Christian’s such as myself, have seen nothing to draw them to God.
More times than I would like to admit, I have been drawn to the things of this world. My eye has been caught by the glitter and gloss that the devil holds out like a carrot stick that he promises to give us a heaping bite of it only we will take this step and then that step until we find ourselves slipping into over the precept and falling into the gully of ruin.
When I see how close we are to the return of Jesus, a thought which on one hand fills me with joy, on the other hand it feels me with regret as I see the precious hours that I have wasted and the poor example that I have been. As I think of the joys that He has promised, of the delight of throwing off my glasses and saying goodbye to my aching body, a deep sadness fills my heart as I wonder if by my neglect there will be or two missing from the kingdom of Heaven who might have been there if I had taken the time to reach out and share with them the word of God or had been a better example of the purity and loving master I claimed to serve.
Trust is one of those funny things in life that cannot exist except in the presence of trial, tribulation, and doubt. During times of peace, prosperity, and abundance we can claim we trust, we can say that we are confident. But surrounded by comfort, bathing in the soothing waters of excess, and enjoying the delightful strains of peace there is little room for fear or doubt.
Gliding down the still waters our hearts have nothing to faint at. No reason to reach out our perspiration drenched hands and hold onto the hands of another with all our might. Hoping and praying that our feeble grasp will not give or the arm above us grow tired.
But when the still waters fade and the deafening roar of the waterfall fills our hears with fear and our heart lunges inside our aching chest, that is when trust is revealed. That is when we reveal to one and all if our words of confidence in the unswerving promises of God are the overconfident prattle of the prosperous or genuine gold which they too should desire.
In the hour of need, when everything we hold dear is at stake, that is when, by our actions, we preach our greatest sermon. In the testing fire of trial we can show to one and all, that even though our hands may shake and eyes fill with tears, the chord between heaven and earth is stronger than the hurricane of fear. That peace of heart is ours because we believe and trust the promises of the One who promised that He will hear our prayers and take care of our needs. And we show the world that the promises of God are worth more than all the gold and silver in this world.