A Familiar Voice in an Unfamiliar Place
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
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One Friday around noon I left work early to take the three-hour trip to visit my mom. I'd packed the bare essentials for an overnight visit, including my complete collection of Beatles CDs. As I reached randomly for a CD, I just happened to grab the Let It Be disk. Soon the catchy melody of the first track, "Two of Us," was blasting through my Honda's speakers, with lyrics that speak of "going home" and "memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead."
I needed some good memories. My mother was bedridden in a nursing home, suffering from the early stages of dementia. This once spunky woman with quick wit now wandered in a world between knowing and unknowing, recognizing and not recognizing.
On good days her thoughts were clear and happy memories filled her mind and flowed richly and smoothly into our conversations. But the Wednesday I'd called prior to leaving for the 150-mile trip was not a good day. I had no assurance that she would even recognize me when I walked into her room.
So, I cranked up the volume, rolled down the window, and soaked in the melody and words that seemed to cleanse my tired soul of much anxiety and remind me of all those good memories my mom and I had shared over the years. It was almost like God was speaking to me, assuring me he was present amid this sad and confusing season of my mother's life. I prayed silently, thanking God for a mom who raised me with a lot of love and laughter, made the best country meals I've ever eaten, corrected my grammar, and taught me witty sayings that have been passed on to my own children, and, hopefully, my grandchildren someday.
Did God speak to me through a song by the Beatles? I think so. The Beatles were hardly known for their deep Christian spirituality. In fact, the most religiously vocal member embraced Hinduism as his belief of choice. Still, I do believe God can speak into our lives through a child's smile, a beautiful sunset, a loving embrace from my wife. So, why can't God speak healing and hope into my soul through a disk I just "happened" to slip into a CD player?
Pastor Bill Hybels wrote a book titled The Power of a Whisper, in which he builds a pretty strong case for God speaking to us in a variety of ways. (In 2011, Men of Integrity featured readings from The Power of a Whisper.) Hybels offers this advice for testing messages and nudges we think come from on high: "Check every prompting you receive against the thematic teachings of Scripture. Messages that contradict Scripture are not from God." I can honestly say the upbeat message I received through "Two of Us" didn't contradict any Scripture that I could think of.
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