Chuck and I recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Four weeks we toured New Zealand, from the tropical Bay of Islands to the glacial Southern Alps, then finished it off with a drive down the beautiful Great Ocean Road in Australia. Many of you have tagged along, following Chuck’s daily posts on Facebook. It was a wonderful trip through two amazing countries and, as always on our adventures, we saw God everywhere.
Chuck recently shared about our arrival in Queenstown, death-defying drive down Skippers Canyon, and thrilling jet boat ride on Shotover River. While we certainly felt God’s protection on the narrow mountain roads and rock lined river, it was later that day when God spoke to me in an unexpected way.
God reminds us of His love in the most unexpected places.
Strolling the lakeside streets of Queenstown, we were surrounded by other visitors to the city–mostly families on Easter holiday and backpackers who had taken temporary jobs before continuing their own adventures. Magicians, musicians, and others performed for the crowds.
Suddenly we were drawn to piano music. Rounding the next corner, we saw a dreadlocked young man playing a dilapidated piano. The music was mesmerizing. It was hard to believe such beautiful music was coming from this unusual pianist and his beat up piano. Intrigued, we lingered over lunch to listen and wonder about their story. Then we noticed a sign behind the piano:
This piano came from the dump! I have restored, repaired and retuned it in an ongoing, self-inflicted piano tuning apprenticeship. Thanks for listening! All the music I’m playing was composed by me, on this piano which now lives in my van!
God nudged me. “Beverly, you are the piano.”
“What do you mean, Lord?”
“I lifted you out of the garbage of sin. As you responded to my touch, I invested in you. I restored you to have a life of purpose. I repaired the brokenness in you. And I continue to retune you through the ups and downs. Your life is the music I compose especially for you.”
We are God’s instrument through which He plays the music of life.
All at once I saw everything in a new light. The pianist became a masterful musician, transforming the dilapidated piano into a beautifully restored instrument…his instrument.
God does that, too. He takes us from the pit of life and renews us. He lovingly restores, repairs and retunes, making us instruments for His glory.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things.2
Eventually the young pianist stopped playing, gathered his few belongings, and slowly pushed the piano down the street. Soon he was gone…but not God’s gentle reminder.
Beverly Graham is a member of the Board of Directors of Ciloa and a writer of the Notes of Encouragement. She and her husband, Chuck, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA.
1. 2 Corinthians 4:16, NIV.
2. Psalm 98:1a, NIV.
Note: The pianist is A.J. Hickling. You can read more about him at www.evolvingrhythms.com. On Tuesday, we will load on Chuck and Ciloa’s Facebook pages his video of AJ performing in Victoria Mall, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Pictures: Banner and 1st photo by Chuck Graham. The remaining beautiful photos are borrowed (in order) from the Instagram accounts of tessakelleway, syndibraun, and randycinco_sagimo.