I took piano lessons for seven years as a child, but I was not faithful to practice as I should and as result did not become the pianist I could have been. For years afterwards, I sat down before those black and white keys only occasionally but as I entered my late thirties, I began to long for more music in my life.
Night after night, during the hour between dinner and bedtime for my children I began play. I would sit at our old upright, place the music before me and struggle to coax my rusty brain and fingers into producing melody. It was slow work at first, and most likely painful listening for my family. Persistence paid off however, and I began to make progress. My husband encouraged me and eventually we decided I would take lessons once again.
This time around, I was determined to work hard and do my best and I made progress rapidly. Somewhere along the way, I became skilled enough to recognize that old upright was not the sweetest sounding instrument in the world and that no amount of tuning would ever soften its harsh tones. Privately, I began to long for a new piano and deep within, I dreamed of a baby grand.
One day, I mentioned my dream to my husband. This man you see, loves me well. He began to research pianos. He educated himself on every aspect of pianos and at last found a piano all the way across the United States that caught his attention. It was an Italian piano by a company named Shulze Pollman. That year only twelve of them had entered the United States. It was a fantastic instrument. The showroom selling it was changing the line of pianos they were selling but could not began selling their new line until this one last remaining piano was gone. The asking price was about half of retail.
We thought about it and prayed about it. We have five kids and almost never make large purchases anymore. We have an almost pathological fear of debt, but we just could not get that piano out of our heads. Finally, one night I looked at my husband and said, “I think if we let this pass by we will regret it for the rest of our lives.” He agreed and the next day placed a call. The piano was ours.
Recently, I have begun tackling the final movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Long ago, I mastered the first and most well known movement of this piece. Then, in just a couple of weeks I nailed the second. The third movement is a monster all its own. It is frenetic and passionate. A wild ride that never slows until it crashes at the end. The first time I heard it on the radio, I was mesmerized. The notes flew so quickly that at first I thought it was a duet.
To say the least, it will be a long term project for me and I have already served noticed to my teacher that if I ever master it, I will throw a party in celebration. I love the challenge and my family is so patient to listen to the same first few scores over and over again. Certainly, I am optimistic about the piece but deep within, I know that there is a chance it may be beyond my ability no matter how long I work on it. It may be that my 38 year old brain has past the point of wrapping around such complexities. Perhaps, these middle aged fingers so often numbed by the arthritis in my neck are simply incapable of such coordination.
My teacher however, is a wise woman and in addition to the first few scores, she has assigned me one additional stretch of notes: the final score in the piece. See, she understands that when a student is faced with a tremendous work, sometimes they need to envision the triumphant last strains.
God understands that too. For the child of God who genuinely desires to walk in Holiness and experience sanctification, it can be easy to get discouraged. The flesh is so weak and our hearts such idolatrous, wandering creatures. With Paul we too often find ourselves sizing up our lives and saying, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24
Romans 8:22- 23 echoes the struggle with these words: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
So, our merciful God shows us the final score of the symphony of our lives.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1 -3
The work right now might be difficult, but the final notes of our song are sweet.