As I introduced a music theory concept to my new piano student, she nodded her head enthusiastically and assured me she understood the week’s homework that included the instruction to use pencil. One week later she presented her theory book to me to check her work. To my dismay, she had completed the whole assignment—incorrectly—and with a pen. Obviously I had failed in communicating that a pencil was necessary “just in case” she made a mistake. What a mess!
Being a musician, piano teacher and writer, I have learned the value of a pencil. When I sit down to write out melodies playing in my head, I begin with a pencil and eraser and never pick up a pen until I’m ready to write out the finished copy. After all, I am the composer and I reserve the right to make changes.
Looking back over recent events in my life, I was struck with the thought, “This is not how I would have written my story.” I would not have included death, sorrow upon sorrow, cancer, early widowhood, family struggles, sick grandbabies, and emotional turmoil. I had high hopes with beautiful children, a wonderful marriage, a ministry on a mission field where I was willing to serve for the rest of my life. But the story was not mine to write….well, at least not with a pen.
It is natural to have hopes and dreams, but as our life story unfolds we have to remember that God, the Sovereign One who sees the beginning, the end and everything in between, is the author. It is a life of faith, walking in step with His ways and His purposes. Faith writes the story in pencil and gives the eraser to God.
Outside of a life of faith, we get self-centered and lose touch with reality. We want everything to be perfect as if God’s job is to never allow any sadness or imperfections to cloud our horizons. When trials and troubles arise then, as they surely will, our skewed view of life (and God) causes us to doubt God’s love, crying out in our anguish, “Why me? Why this? Why now?” Maybe you’ve been there. I know I have. Thankfully our Lord is so patient with us, understanding our weakness and extending grace and mercy.
When we step aside and surrender all to Him, the story He writes isn’t lopsided. Yes there are sorrows, oh but there is also joy in the journey. In struggles He gives strength, with sickness there is healing, with loss there is comfort, in spite of turmoil there is an inner peace that cannot be explained nor understood by this world Philippians 4:6-7. When feeling crushed and alone, there is the assurance of His presence. And through it all, learning what it means to comfort another with the same comfort that has been received 2 Corinthians 1:4.
I marvel at what God has done and continues to do. This walk of faith is significantly different in so many ways that I could ever had imagined. And once in a while God just dumps something in my lap. Last Sunday I was blessed to be the one to guide a young woman to accept Christ into her heart and life. With joy I contemplated, “Why me?
Only because of God’s grace. “Why this?” A purpose in life! “Why now?” For such a time as this.
Carol and her husband, Jerry, live in Lima, Ohio, where she serves on staff at Lima Baptist Temple. Carol, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baptist Bible College (Springfield, Missouri), has many years of experience in ministry as a Missionary (Taiwan) and Pastor's wife and has served in many capacities while carrying out these roles. She is an accomplished musician and also enjoys writing and quilting when she has opportunity. Her life verse is Psalm 18:30 "As for God--his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him."