We were living the movie “That Thing You Do!” It began with four bored teens in the mid 60’s who decided to start a rock band. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t play an instrument. Common sense had never stopped us before.
Steve located an old Stella box guitar. Billy got hold of a beginner electric guitar that evolved into a bass. I deftly pushed the buttons on a plastic toy chord organ and Terry gathered the trashcans to create a smelly but colorful set of drums.
We taught ourselves and began to make music. My earliest memories of our rehearsals have been repressed. We were pretty bad but determined. It wasn’t long before we were booked to play at parties for $5.00 a gig.
We soon upgraded our instruments and our personnel changed some. We got a new drummer – an excitable guy named Bob, who kicked a hole in his bass drum about once a week.
And then we added a lead singer by the name of Gene who sounded like Mick Jagger but was better looking. As a bonus, he had his own sound system. It was small, however, and Gene’s voice was lost in the din of the guitars and drums.
We were getting better and upped our fee to $6.00 a party. And then, an amazing opportunity presented itself. The Franklin County Fair was having a talent contest with cash prizes.
We practiced every Rolling Stone song in Gene’s repertoire and picked the best to present. The day of audition came. My dad drove us to the fairgrounds in the tour bus (a 63 Ford station wagon).
They called out our name, “The Fourth Generation!” We grabbed our instruments with trembling hands and did our thing.
The house sound system was amazing. Gene’s lyrics could finally be heard and we were confident of making the finals.
But, halfway into the song I looked up. The 3 judges looked like they had taken a swig of sour milk. Was it my Beatle boots or maybe my granny glasses?
And then I tuned into the lyrics. He was singing, “Let’s spend the night together. Now I need you more than ever….”
Evidently the judges didn’t appreciate a song about shacking up for the night! Consequently, the closest we got to the County Fair was the livestock exhibit.
It was kind of silly. We were broadcasting a message and didn’t know what we were saying. Then again, it really wasn’t that unusual. We Christians do it all the time.
We may not know it but some of us transmit the idea that Christians are perfect or close to it. And the world looks at us and laughs. They should because we certainly don’t live that way.
Some of us even give the impression that Christians are better those who are not. And the community looks at us as if they took a swig of sour milk.
Perhaps, the most frequent miscommunication is the idea that the Christian life is problem free – that the Christian is entitled to be wealthy and healthy.
It just ain’t true. Covid-19 has seen Christians suffering the same as everyone else. Some were put out of work, others are lost businesses, some were sick and some died.
As I write this there is a tornado bearing down on our community. If it lands, I am not expecting it to skip over my house because I am a Christian. (I know, I know – I should be in the bathtub. Hey at least this blog is being saved to the cloud.)
The Gospel message does not promise a problem free life. The same rain falls on every head. But God does provide the resources the Christian needs in order to cope – an umbrella with which to help us manage.
He extends the lifeline of prayer to us and promises to answer. He lifts our hope from the mire of the present and sets it on the future. He indwells us to give us the power and courage we would not have otherwise. He provides a church family to walk beside us and we have Jesus who is ever present with us – a reminder that we are never alone.
The Lord said, “Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I am with you; when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you. For I am the Lord your God.” – Isaiah 43:1-3 NET Bible ®
God doesn’t keep us from trouble; but He will carry us through it.
Maybe the present is a great time to evaluate the words we have been singing and to learn a new song that accurately communicates God’s mercy amid trial.