April 11

“What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light.” Matthew 10:27

Our Lord is constantly taking us into the dark, that He may tell us things. Into the dark of the shadowed home, where bereavement has drawn the blinds; into the dark of the lonely, desolate life, where some infirmity closes us in from the light and stir of life; into the dark of some crushing sorrow and disappointment. Then He tells us His secrets, great and wonderful, eternal and infinite; He causes the eye which has become dazzled by the glare of earth to behold the heavenly constellations; and the car to detect the undertones of His voice, which is often drowned amid the tumult of earth’s strident cries.

But such revelations always imply a corresponding responsibility—‘that speak ye in the light—that proclaim upon the housetops.” We are not meant to always linger in the dark, or stay in the closet; presently we shall be summoned to take our place in the rush and storm of life; and when that moment comes, we are to speak and proclaim what we have learned. (Streams in the Desert)

I make the hour-and-a-half drive from my home to Dallas on Monday evenings to teach a class of graduate students. The hour is late and the drive becomes increasingly demanding as the semester lingers and other responsibilities hold priority; still, I look for ways to make the drive time beneficial so that I do not begrudge the three hour commute as wasted time. On longer trips I listen to books on CD, and my wife and I do the same together on vacation drives, but the shorter journey is more conducive to listening to music. Half way through this Monday’s trip northbound on Interstate 35 I inserted a musical CD I received back at Christmas.

I drove impassively, minding my own business on the construction laden freeway when track three began. The Tommy Coomes Band crooned its own arrangement of the age old hymn, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence.” The hymn, written by Charles H. Gabriel in the late 19th Century, is so familiar to me from my childhood in church that I know the lyrics by heart, but for some unexplained reason on this drive at that particular moment, I listened to the words as if hearing them for the first time.

“I stand amazed in the presence
of Jesus the Nazarene,
and wonder how he could love me,
a sinner, condemned unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
and my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! How wonderful!
is my Savior’s love to me!”

I sang out loud with the soundtrack and began bawling like a baby as my heart erupted:

“… He took my sins and my sorrows

And He made them His very own

And bore the burden to Calvary

And suffered and died alone…”

I am not prone to emotional outbursts, and certainly not accustomed to outstretched arms and having tears trail down my face while driving on a busy interstate, but the intersection of divine revelation and personal need released a flood of gratitude and praise that would not be silenced. Light destroys darkness, and joy shatters silence. Worship breaks free when God’s Spirit touches our spirit in a way that allows us to see both He and ourselves as we are. When heaven in the heart is exposed for all the world to see, we are changed as well as those around us.

“And when with the ransomed in glory

His face I at last shall see

It will be my joy through the ages

To sing of His love for me.”

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