Saturday, November 16, 2013

God Doesn't Fix Everything

I struggled this week.
I worried about facing an angry meeting at  work, I faced a violent patient, and struggled through a very busy schedule.
But beside all of this, I was sulking. last Sunday’s music (which I lead) was bad.
Maybe others didn’t think so, I didn’t ask. I didn’t feel I needed to, to me it was bad.
And this is despite the fact that every week, I, and others, pray that God would bless our music, our efforts, our practice, our sound system, and everything else, so that our music would be a blessing to us, our congregation, and be a fitting expression of gratitude to our wonderful God.
Last week in particular, we had extra people, who wanted to join in. As well as that, I had asked my son to play guitar and sing, sensing he has a gift in his musicality and wanting to foster it further. As a result, we had more mouths than microphones. It was tempting to lose my cool and order people around, as though I knew everything. The battery in the borrowed bass guitar was flat, so we spent time sorting that out, and then it was time to start. The sound levels were all so wrong. I couldn’t hear myself, and I certainly could not hear the congregation.
            I had specifically asked God to bless the music in the prayer prior to the service, explaining to him that we had extras and it could be tricky blending new people without a rehearsal etc etc. I guess, deep down, I knew what was coming, and I wanted a miracle to prevent it.
            As I said, the music was bad.
It was discouraging to me. I felt flat and felt like I had let the church down. I started thinking about retiring from music leading. If I want to look for bad motives, maybe I particularly wanted to impress the visitors we had that day.
            The sermon, by the way, was fantastic.
The music situation is already a bit tricky at the moment as we have added a new member to the band. Adding someone to an established situation is often tricky. As I get older, I cope less well with change. Experience has taught older people like me to stick to what "works". There is some wisdom in that attitude, but it is a wisdom that does not need faith. Youth’s willingness to give anything a go is actually a blessing, and sometimes leads to unexpected wonderful outcomes, as opposed to the consistency of older people, which sometimes leads to boredom
As Christians we are being renewed every day, (2 Corinthians 4:16) so we should be able to cope with changes, trusting God that he will use them for blessing.
            So, last night, after an emergency transfer of a patient in an ambulance, which had a good outcome, I had time on the way back in the dark quiet of the back of the ambulance, after midnight, to ponder our music situation at church.
            I asked God to show me the best way forward. How was I going to bring about changes that would help the music at church? Should I just give up?
            The answer was simple. It was my role, as the person in authority, to confront the situation with loving wisdom. It was time to take the team through a session of balancing sound levels. So this morning, an hour before our service, I addressed the gathered musicians, explaining what was important to me as a leader, and one by one we went through each instrument, with the aid of our sound technician, adjusting faders, carefully aiming for a level that would allow my voice to be heard above the other instruments and voices, and also allow the congregation to be heard. I then went through each instrument one by one, in order of importance, making them just loud enough to be heard.
            Practicing the songs became the lesser priority.
After spending 15 minutes doing this, respecting the opinion of each member of the band, we had the levels better than we’ve ever had them. We had room to get louder for the choruses. We sang a well known, rousing song at a lower level. Yet the power of the song was, if anything, greater. I enjoyed the music, I believe the congregation did too, though I didn't ask them.
The sermon was also great.

God didn’t fix everything last week. He wanted me to work through it this week.
It was the right decision…