Friday, September 9, 2011


Mr. Slack came and tuned our pianos Wednesday. (Yes, pianos. We have two - a blonde and a brunette. How we came to have two pianos is a story for another post.) Mrs. Linda, the girls' piano teacher, had asked Mr. Slack to drive down from Kentucky to tune her multiple pianos, and she wanted to line up as many other jobs as possible to make his trip worthwhile. I knew our pianos hadn't been tuned for several years and that they were probably a little "off," so I signed up for a visit from Mr. Slack. Anyway, he pulled out his tools, sat down at first one piano and then the other, and because twisting pegs. It took Mr. Slack right at two hours to get the job done.

Funny thing is, I didn't think they were particularly out of tune in the first place. Boy was I wrong.

I'd never heard so much creaking, cracking, and string-stretch groaning come from a piano before. Mr. Slack plodded along, adjusting string after string. Not only did he bring each string to pitch, he corrected a few other technical problems - a note here that struck particularly "hard," one here that tended to strike muted and too soft. Those pianos sound like completely different instruments today.

My girls love playing the piano, whether it's in tune or not. They even love practicing. Martha sits at the piano for well over an hour every day, working through song after song. Wednesday afternoon after Mr. Slack left, Martha sat down at the keyboard and fingered through a few scales and chord progressions. She paused. She sat back on the bench, closed her eyes, and breathed a sigh of delight. Then, her back straightened, she leaned forward, and her fingers pressed ecstatically into a song that ripped up and down the keys.

I hadn't realized how bad the pianos had sounded, but once they'd been tuned, I became acutely aware of just how far off-pitch they had both become. And suddenly, I understood the joy of hearing music as it should be.

In my read through the Bible, I am currently in Proverbs and in 2 Corinthians. Over and over, I am encouraged to seek wisdom, to receive reproof, to learn from correction, to forsake folly, to disdain self-promotion. To grow beyond needing just milk, to savoring meat. To rest in Christ's sufficiency, not my own. To find my identity in Christ. To experience the joy of God's presence through a life lived in faith and obedience to His Word. As I read, I learn what is the pure, clear music of a life lived in and for Christ, and I become uncomfortably aware of how "off-pitch" my own heart is.

At Grace on Wednesday nights, we're working through a study on evangelism by Will Metzger, Tell the Truth. (You can get a copy of this excellent book here.) Mr. Metzger hands out some tough assignments. In one appendix, he invites readers to do a self-analysis: Am I broken, or unbroken? It is those who are truly broken, who see their need for and dependence on the Gospel, who can then joyfully, boldly, and effectively communicate the Gospel to others. He asks, "Do you dare to look inside yourself?" Then, he lists and contrasts characteristics of people who are broken or unbroken. Reading through that list exposed how very badly "out of tune" with the Gospel my own heart is prone to be.

Do I have a critical spirit, looking at my own faults with a telescope but at the faults of others with a microscope? Or am I compassionate and forgiving, looking for the best in others?

Am I independent and determined to be self-sufficient? Or am I truly dependent on Christ and the ministry of the body? Do I recognize others' needs?

Am I self-protecting of my time, rights, and reputation? Or am I self-denying?

Do I desire to be a success? Or do I desire to be faithful to make others a success? To advance myself, or to promote others?

Do I feel confident in how much I know? Or am I humbled by how much I have to learn?

Am I self-conscious? Or do I have no concern with self at all?

Do I keep people at arm's length? Or am I willing to take the risks of loving intimately?

Do I deal in generalities when confessing my sin? Or do I deal with specifics?

The list goes on and on and on. Ouch.

It is good for my soul to consider what is good and right and true - whether through reading Scripture, or through the wise counsel of a fellow believer - and it is good for me to be made aware of how far my heart strings still need to be stretched before they sing in tune with my Master's heart. Lots of creaking, popping, and groaning in my own heart at present, but also the awareness that this painful tuning process is to a good and glorious end: under the Father's hand, all shall be made right. And I shall spend eternity praising my King and my Saviour...beautifully.

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