November 20, 2020 | Stories by Barbara Williams
Continuing with the theme of “The Perfect Composition”, we will look at some additional musical terms and symbols and the analogies to real life.
MEASURES – These are segments of the music divided by vertical lines on the music staff. Each measure must have the same amount of beats (counts) as determined by the composer. All compositions are composed measure by measure. Some songs have many measures and some very few. The composer determines how many measures are needed to complete the piece.
God is in the process of writing our life composition, one measure at a time. We are a work in progress and only He determines how many measures are needed.
In view of that, we need to live each day in the light of eternity. The songwriter, David, puts it this way:
“LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You. Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.” – Psalm 39:4-5
In the light of this truth, the Apostle Paul tells us how to spend our time.
“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Eph.5:15-16
NOTES AND RESTS - In music, there are several kinds of notes and rests. Both are the “heart and soul” of a song. Without them, there would be no melodies or harmonies. Notes may be shorter or longer in length depending on how many beats they each receive. Rests are unique in that they indicate a total cessation of musical sound (silence) for a specific number of beats.
Beginning piano students often do not like longer notes or rests. They just want their fingers to be in motion! Several years ago a young student informed me that “I hate half notes!” And it sounded like she hated half notes! Not giving notes their full value or failing to observe rests will completely destroy the sound of a song.
Most of us find those times of “cessation of activity” difficult and frustrating as we too prefer to be “in motion.” God, in His infinite wisdom knows just when longer notes and rests are needed.
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” - Psalm 37:7
HOLD – This sign over a note is also a very important musical symbol. It simply means to wait, to literally “keep in place.” Keep holding that note.
How long is a hold? In music, it’s about one or two extra beats. But in real life, God determines how long it will be. The Bible says a lot about waiting. The prophet Isaiah tells us, “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
This verse tells us that the process of waiting is directly connected to having our strength renewed. If you find yourself in a holding pattern, use this time to draw closer to the Lord, to nuture your relationship with Him.
This present season of Covid-19 is tough for everyone.
We all just want to……….MOVE ON.
Instead, we find ourselves holding……waiting…….
The key to peace of heart and mind is not to passively wait but to purposefully, prayerfully wait on the Lord.
Knowing He is totally trustworthy and faithful, we can be confident He is at work even when we don’t see it.
FORM AND STYLE – There are so many different musical styles and each has a very distinctive sound! The Great Composer has created you to be unique. If you’re a Scott Joplin rag, don’t try to be a Strauss waltz! It just won’t work! Your personality, talents and gifts combine to make you who God created YOU to be.
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
TEMPO – This is the speed of a song, how slow or fast it should go. The composer most often will indicate the metronome marking for the song. A metronome is a handy little contraption (or torture device depending on perspective!)
The metronome both sets the tempo and holds the musician to a steady beat. It’s very unforgiving. You either are with it or you aren’t!
Music students know the secret of staying with a metronome is to listen and adjust.
So it is with God. He is the Composer and Conductor. He sets the tempo and wants us to keep in step with Him by listening and adjusting. Every day.
The good news is that unlike a metronome, God is forgiving, kind and gracious, helping us by the power of His Spirit to keep trusting and following.
I don’t know your life story or circumstances. But I do know that you are a work in progress and that God intends the music of your life to be heard.
Perhaps you feel as though the composition of your life thus far makes no sense. You are unsure if God knows what He is doing. Maybe you have been trying to write your own composition, resulting in heartache, loss of purpose and even chaos. You may think that it is too late for God to make beautiful music out of your life.
It is never too late with God.
Every day is a fresh beginning. When surrendered to Him, He will take everything in your life and use it to make the Perfect Composition.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
Let the music begin!