January 28

“I am jealous over you with God’s own jealousy.” 2 Corinthians 11:2, Weymouth

“How an old harper dotes on his harp! How he fondles and caresses it, as a child resting on his bosom! His life is bound up in it. But, see him tuning it. He grasps it firmly, strikes a chord with a sharp, quick blow; and while it quivers as if in pain, he leans over intently to catch the first note that rises. The note, as he feared, is false and harsh. He strains the chord with the torturing thumb-screw; and though it seems ready to snap with the tension, he strikes it again, bending down to listen softly as before, till at length you see a smile on his face as the first true tone trembles upward.

So it may be that God is dealing with you. Loving you better than any harper loves his harp, He finds you a mass of jarring discords. He wrings your heartstrings with some torturing anguish; He bends over you tenderly, striking and listening; and, hearing only a harsh murmur, strikes you again, while His heart bleeds for you, anxiously waiting for that strain—‘Not my will, but thine be done’—which is melody sweet to His ear as angels’ songs. Nor will He cease to strike until your chastened soul shall blend with all the pure and infinite harmonies of His own being.” (Streams in the Desert)

“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.”

My dad taught himself to play the guitar, and then moved on to learn the harmonica, accordion, mandolin, dulcimer, and keyboard. He picked up the violin nearer the end of his life. I honestly doubt there is a stringed instrument my father could not have learned. What added to the special quality of his ability is that he didn’t read music. Father played “by ear.” When I asked him to teach me to play the guitar, the first thing he did was instruct how to tune the instrument. I frustrated him at first because I would come close to getting in tune, but my father could hear the dissonance in the strings. Fortunately, he was patient, and I eventually learned to tune, although I never matched his ability to make music.

The disciple’s most critical responsibility is to surrender to the Master tuner. Christ is always baseline; the Father constantly adjusts my circumstances to bring me into tune with Him. Submit, then listen beyond the dissonance of the moment and you will recognize a harmony you could never produce on your own.

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