We go along through this life, a battle, no banners waving, no trumpet blasts, just grueling hard trudging along. Sometimes all alone. Not much encouragement, just a quiet, secret hope. Our eyes look up and we remind ourselves that we believe that there is something grand and glorious beyond the physical sky. We believe that we will live forever in perfect peace, perfect joy, perfect love. All will be happiness. Forever. For that, we will go through anything. It’s a Person and our love for Him that really drives us on. Not just a meaningless promise of pleasure. We’re not here to guzzle up all the pleasures for our own stomachs. That would be an empty hope since we’re spending our lives freeing ourselves from fleshly vices. We find the greatest hope in love. “….but the greatest of these is LOVE!”
A banquet is held, a grand and glorious feast. Some enter and feast their eyes and stomachs on all they can take for themselves.They enter with the idea of getting for themselves. Some enter in peace, knowing and loving the one who gives the banquet. They have a story in mind, and this is the celebration of the happily ever after. They enjoy more deeply and more greatly, because they do so with love. Not just for Him who is Love, but for one another. Fellow soldiers.
Really though, at this feast, there can be no one who enters in selfishness and greed and who sees only material gain for himself. It wouldn’t be a place of perfection if selfishness, jealousy, dissension, or any evil thing were there. This is the celebration of the victory over those things. So those things must be cleaned away from those who harbor them, and if they can’t be, or won’t be, cleansed, then they will never be allowed in.
But this is hard. We’re in a bloody, dirty, sweaty, dark, scary battle. We don’t see it from above. We can’t back up and look at the progress on the map. We’re in a very narrow space in the trench. We depend on trust. We HAVE to trust in God. We can’t see Him, We can’t even hear him most of the time. We have these old old verses and truths in our minds, feeding our souls. We remember past warriors who’ve gone before us. We cling to them as the dirt and tears stain our faces, and hope deep inside. We hope. We cling to promises. We believe in God, and we trust Him to know what he’s doing.
Like in a movie when you’re pulling for the guy in the middle of it not to do what seems best to him, because it will mess everything up really badly. We pull for him to trust what he’s been told to do instead, to do it against what seems like good reason to him. We wish we could say to the protagonist who can’t hear us, “Do this! or Don’t do that!”, knowing there’s no way he can hear us or get all the information we have. He’s in the middle of it. Deep in the trenches. His victory depends on trust. And for us, in our battle, we trust because of love.
So it’s quiet, it’s difficult, it’s grueling. It’s very frustrating and we begin to think God has deserted us, or maybe we fell for some huge joke. We see the revelers all around us, doing all the stuff we’ve been told and understand is bad for our souls. Partying until the ship goes down. We know too well to fall for it though because of good sense. We have seen them fall. So we cling to our dirt and our injuries and our hard life, and we keep moving. Heartsick and exhausted to the bone, we continue on. This is how heroes are made.
And then we find that our God made something in heaven and gave us a taste of it on this earth to bolster us up, to give us a glimpse of the gloriousness of what lies ahead for those who stay in the fight, who don’t give up, who don’t fall away when they lose heart. It too, like love is not something which can be explained away by nerves and synapses. It’s spiritual, a gift from on high. Medicine for the soul. A message of coming victory urging us to keep up the fight. The banners waving, the trumpets blowing. And we smile through our dirt encrusted faces, we thank God for the dirt, for the wounds, they’re all “badges of courage”. Music speaks in ways words can’t and all in an instant, we understand everything. We see. We know.
I am not much of a music person. There’s always so much stigma attached to what type you listen to . Like you’ve aligned yourself with a party or a subculture of some sort if you enjoy a piece of music. I occasionally remember music though, and I find myself transported, and in wonder about so great a gift. Music is a tool of course, like any other. It can be used for good and great things, or for evil purposes. I think we do need to be careful with it. But when one of the good guys gets the gift of music, we are brought messages from heaven. We are shown pictures of our hope and infused with life giving strength to carry on. This is one of those transcendent things. One of the higher things that points to the reality and existence of a God. It shows us something not physical, not seen, and we understand more deeply the weighty reality of it by the descriptive power of music. We’re brought up and out of ourselves and we’re aware that there is more. We’ve been spoken to in a language that means something outside of this world.