Tuesday, December 6, 2016


We are surrounded by the creations of God – those on the outside but also on the inside. We experience a taste of God when we apologize for having caused pain and then are forgiven. We also sense His presence in other ways. In “Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical,” Timothy Keller wrote:

·       Leonard Bernstein famously admitted that when he heard great music and great beauty he sensed “Heaven,” some order behind things. “[Beethoven] has the real goods, the stuff from Heaven, the power to make you feel at the finish: something is right in the world. There is something that checks throughout, that follows its own law consistently: something we can trust, that will never let us down.”

For me, it was Rachmaninoff. Having struggled for years with depression and self-loathing, the type that drives us to the highest bridge, Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony preached to my aching mind a sermon of hope, peace, and love. It actually reassured me that there was something beyond the pain, a place of love and warmth, a place where I’d be cared for.

At that time, I was not ready to hear a sermon about God, but this piece of music preached a sermon I needed to hear.  Somewhere, there was a rest, and I believed in what it preached. It encouraged me to hold on.

How did this work. It wasn’t just a matter of a set of beautiful melodies, which touched my heart. It was more than that. It communicated to my heart that there was another reality, a place that guaranteed me relief.

But aren’t these just feelings? Can they be trusted? Sometimes they cannot be trusted. They sometimes are merely the product of dreams or fears. They are not constructed grammatically with coherent sentences. However, my experiences came to me with the completeness and authority of chapter and verse.

Perhaps Bernstein failed to embrace the content of the message that Beethoven had passed on to him. However, by the grace of God, I had no other options. Even though I had little understanding of the hope that had been communicated to me, my burdens wouldn’t allow me to forget about it. It was only later that the nature of this hope was revealed:

·       “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:27-30)

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