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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

 ” Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation (Isaiah 12:2).”

Life can be really confusing. It’s hard to know how to make sense of it.

What is confusion exactly? The Medicine Plus website says,”Confusion is the inability to think with your usual speed or clarity, including feeling disoriented and having difficulty paying attention, remembering, and making decisions.”

That great, not always reliable site, Wikipedia, says this of confusion:

“(Confusion) refers to loss of orientation (ability to place oneself correctly in the world by time, location, and/or personal identity sometimes accompanied by disordered consciousness and often memory (ability to correctly recall previous events or learn new material).”

Confusion is a symptom of underlying problems. Technically, the acute kind is called “delirium”, the adjective being “delirious. It is also a sign of dementia.

Frankly, it appears just about anything in this fallen world can cause confusion. The Wrong Diagnosis website lists 78 causes. Among them are anxiety, fatigue and stress. These words definitely describe today’s living.

Then there are the physical causes of confusion. These include disease,  body chemistry, and even lack of sleep.

Why all the rambling about confusion? It’s because these days I am  confused.

Trying to solve life’s’ problems is like trying to learn trigonometry. I know for sure I was never any good in math. That’s one reason I ended up as an English teacher.

There are a lot of people out there with advice, some good, some bad. I can use the Internet to try and figure things out.  Close friends can help me, also. In addition, my pastor is there to counsel me and help me sort things out. If need be, I can pay money and go to a professional and bare my soul.

Sometimes, though, there are no friends or counselors to be had. When this happens it can get awfully lonely. The confusion is exacerbated.

 The Psalmist knew this and he turned to the only Person he had left: he begged God for help.

       “O LORD, the God who saves me,
       day and night I cry out before you.

  May my prayer come before you;
       turn your ear to my cry.

  For my soul is full of trouble
       and my life draws near the grave. 

 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
       I am like a man without strength.

 I am set apart with the dead,
       like the slain who lie in the grave,
       whom you remember no more,
       who are cut off from your care.

 You have put me in the lowest pit,
       in the darkest depths.

Your wrath lies heavily upon me;
       you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. 
      

 You have taken from me my closest friends
       and have made me repulsive to them.
       I am confined and cannot escape;

my eyes are dim with grief.
       I call to you, O LORD, every day;
       I spread out my hands to you.

 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
       Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? 
      

Is your love declared in the grave,
       your faithfulness in Destruction ?

Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
       or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

  But I cry to you for help, O LORD;
       in the morning my prayer comes before you.

  Why, O LORD, do you reject me
       and hide your face from me?

  From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death;
       I have suffered your terrors and am in despair.

 Your wrath has swept over me;
       your terrors have destroyed me.

 All day long they surround me like a flood;
       they have completely engulfed me.

  You have taken my companions and loved ones from me;
       the darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 108).”

This morning the darkness WAS my closest friend. This is because the dark sky told me of  God’s presence. The Psalmist cried out to God for it because it was life to him. It is to me, also.

Any strong Christian knows the best way to communicate with the Lord is through the Bible. It is the infallible, inerrant source of all truth.

However, I have found that God gets my attention and tells me all is right with the world through His creation. This morning in the darkness I walked out and looked up. I say a clear sky and constellations. I knew God was there as I went off in my car.

The Psalmist had the same experience:

“O LORD, our Lord,
       how majestic is your name in all the earth!
       You have set your glory
       above the heavens.

 When I consider your heavens,
       the work of your fingers,
       the moon and the stars,
       which you have set in place,

 what is man that you are mindful of him,
       the son of man that you care for him (Psalm 8:1,3-4)?”

 In addition to His creation, I have learned that God likes to communicate with me through music. Many times He doesn’t do it through hymns or religious forms, but through pop music.

This morning as I sat in the coffee shop I was moved by different lyrics. For example, an old Temptations song spoke to me: 

 I’ve got sunshine
On a cloudy day.
When it’s cold outside,
I’ve got the month of May.

Well, I guess you’ll say
What can make me feel this way?
My Lord. (My Lordl, My Lord)
Talkin’ ’bout my Lord. (My Lord)

I’ve got so much honey
The bees envy me.
I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.

Well, I guess you’ll say
What can make me feel this way?
My Lord. (My Lord, my Lord)
Talkin’ ’bout my Lord. (My Lord)

Ooooh, Hoooo.

Hey, hey, hey.
Hey, hey, hey.

I don’t need no money,
Fortune or fame.
I’ve got all the riches, baby,
One man can claim.

Well, I guess you’ll say
What can make me feel this way?
My Lord. (My Lord, my Lord)
Talkin’ ’bout my Lord. (My Lord)

Sure, I took some poetic license! It works for me, though, when I am lonelyand confused and need God to be there.

Shortly thereafter came the Bill Withers song “Lean on Me.”

“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don’t let show

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’d understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
Till I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on”

This song is reflective of the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. When I am lonely and confused, as I am now, these lyrics tell me I can call on my Friend and Brother Jesus and lean on Him.

Once Jesus rescued a woman in Israel who was about to be stoned for adultery. After all her accusers and enemies had left, there was just the woman and Jesus.

Jesus said to her,”Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin (John 8:10-11).”

Jesus was her only friend. He came through for her and set her on the right path.

When it comes to dealing with my own loneliness and confusion caused by this difficult life, I know there is one Person I can turn to. It is my Lord Jesus Christ, with whom I am developing more and more of a love relationship.

Like the woman caught in adultery, I have had to learn this the hard way.

Sam Cooke echoes my sentiments these days,

“Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don’t know much about geography
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra
Don’t know what a slide rule is for

But I do know that one and one is two
And if this one could be with you
What a wonderful world this would be

Now I don’t claim to be an “A” student
But I’m trying to be
So maybe by being an “A” student baby
I can win your love for me

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

When loneliness and confusion comes,and you don’t have a friend,  it’s an awful place to be. Perhaps, though, God allows it to prove a point: He’s the only Friend we really need.

One wag said,”You’ll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” Easy to say, harder to experience.

But as the old hymn says, it will be worth it all when we see Jesus face to face. I can’t wait until that day arrives. Maranatha!

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