It’s a mother’s prerogative. Mom ran into a housekeeper, Patsy, at the Solace Center who knew our family when I was just a kid. “She remembers you when you were this tall,” Mom said, holding her hands lower than my waist is now. And then looking at Patsy said, “He plays the piano. Jerry, play a song for her.” When your mom asks, you do that.
I sat down at the black baby grand piano in the Great Room and began playing Til the Storm Passes By. Looking through the window across the hall, I saw a door open and a short, gray-haired woman walk out. She came up to me and said, “I love that song. They say people can still hear even though they’re not conscious.”
“Yes, I answered,” while playing, “that’s what I’ve heard.
“I opened the door so my mom can hear it,” she said.
She found my mom, or I guess they found each other, and while the music filled the air, their words comforted one another. I made my way from one song to another, old hymns that randomly came to my mind, eventually remembering Because He Lives. God sent His Son, they called him Jesus… the melody filled the emptiness in that great room.
Suddenly another woman emerged from a nearby room. She sat down in the first chair she came to, head in hands, body shaking while she cried. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mom and nodded toward this grieving woman. Mom looked at her, looked back at me, and gingerly made her way across the room. She bent over, and two soon-to-be-widows embraced.
I kept playing. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives. As they, for a moment, hugged one another I was reminded that the God who holds the future has forever wrapped his arms around them. I was also reminded of the power of praise. Worship doesn’t ignore our circumstances–no, it sometimes drops us deeper into them, but has a way of lifting us up above them.
David knew that too. Even while hiding in a cave he wrote these words.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 57:7-10, ESV)
So we sing. Not because we feel like it. But because He’s worth it.