Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Melody in the Air
Only voices in harmony mingled with the hustle and bustle of downtown Greenville. The horns honking, dogs barking, fire breathing (yes, there were street performers on stilts breathing fire and hulla-hooping. Fun stuff) Amid all of the distractions, a group of friends walked by. He was talking and laughing and joking with the guys, when all of a sudden he stopped in his tracks. That melody… it was so familiar. Those words had followed him since he was a child. They always managed to find him in his most desperate need.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
He pulled up a chair and leaned in intently.
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
His phone kept buzzing with his friends’ curious calls about where they had lost him, but that was just it, he wasn’t lost anymore, he had just been found. He kept hanging up his phone trying to explain he was busy, and just to wait.
As the a cappella group finished singing their song, he got up to go, but his heart was pounding so violently, he could barely breathe. He walked over to the elevator, thinking to himself. There was that song that he would sing to himself when he was desperate and down. It would always lift him even on the loneliest road on the darkest night. He sighed, “When peace like a river... It is well…. With my soul….” His heart started beating faster. He knew he needed to get it out! He began to wonder if the singing group knew the song and if he sang would they sing too? He tried to shake it off. He didn’t want to turn around because he didn’t trust himself enough to not run up and start singing. He pushed the elevator button. Ready to leave. Ready to go, when all of a sudden five familiar words rang out:
When peace, like a river,
In shock, mouth hanging open, he pivoted and ran back to his seat. As he listened to the rest of the song in tears, he kept looking around excitedly to see if anyone else understood what just happened! This was the song on his heart and now they were singing it without beinging asked!
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul
A beautiful lady of WW seated beside him noticed his excitement and he shared with her that these were songs he would sing to himself in hard times. He knew when God was speaking to him and He definitely was this night, but he also knew that he didn’t live the way he knew was right. The WW servant said none of us live exactly like we are supposed to, but we must keep turning to God, just like the song says. She suggested to him to go and worship with the group, and they invited him to sing with them.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise….
... Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;…..
... O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
He just closed his eyes and worshipped with everything within him.
This is what I love about Without Walls. There we are out underneath the trees, clouds, and stars worshipping in the open air. Under an “Open Heaven”, a soul that has gotten distracted, as we all do, walks by and senses the presence of God and remembers. It is that “half-remembered song,” that "whisper on the wind” that says God loves you! Remember Him? He remembers you. This young man was able to worship for the first time in a long time. There was no judgment, no condemnation, just an opportunity to praise God that most churches with four walls could not have afforded him. He left that evening loved, lifted, and ecouraged. I love what God is doing and what He is allowing us to witness.