SWEET MUSIC

Yesterday was beautiful – the weather was a bit cool but the sun was bright, the grass and flowers were shining in glory after being washed in abundant rain for several days in a row, and the birds were singing their sweet music throughout the backyard.

Also, the wind was a gentle breeze that sent the porch’s windchimes into a beautiful rhapsody.  

As I was looking at the yard and listening to the chimes’ gentle tones, I was praising the Lord for His gracious goodness and love in sending such a time in the midst of a hectic world.   It made me smile and made my heart resonate with the love that God has for us.

We went to our Bible study that evening and I mentioned the wind chimes in general conversation.  A dear friend asked if I had ever heard the “ice chimes”.  I had not, and she provided a picture that she had just received from near her summer home in Maine.

Lake in Maine with ice breaking up - chiming sounds echoing from the ice

She explained that the lake had frozen over during the winter months.  Indeed, it was so thick and strong you could walk (and some would drive) across it.  However, now the ice was melting.  And when this happens, often but not always, there will be a high-pitched sound, rather like tinkling little bells.  Some have described the sound as the tinkling sound of wind chimes, and thus the sound is named “ice bells.”  She continued to note that the sound was “absolutely beautiful”.

I researched the cause of this natural phenomenon and found that the ice thins as the weather becomes warmer and, at some point, it begins to crack.  When the ice sheets break up, the pieces of ice bump against each other, and the sound is created.

See the article entitled The Sounds of Ice from Margaret LeMone in Atmos News, February 16, 2012 for more information.

Here is a YouTube video from the Town of Dillon, Colorado, dated December 21, 2017 which depicts the lake with the sound of the ice chimes.

As I was thinking of this, it struck me how we think we are something special when we create wind chimes to catch the wind, that God gives us, so that we can hear the beautiful tones, that God grants through the gift of hearing. We often think of nature as being rather static, not really creative necessarily, just doing what it does so that we can live – a rather me-centered attitude.

Instead, we should open our eyes, open our ears, open our minds, and open our hearts so we can see the glory of God as it is revealed in His creation.  I know that Paul points out, eloquently, that nature has fallen because of our sin. 

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

Romans 8:19-21

I cannot dispute the reality that creation is not, today, as it was in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.  However, even in its fallen state, some aspect of the glory of God is evident in His creation. 

Now, thanks to a comment made at the Bible study, when I am listening to the wind chimes while sitting on the porch, I can also recall the “ice chimes” that ring out to the glory of the Creator.  Note that God didn’t need me to make chimes – His chimes ring out by His hand.  He didn’t need me to teach the birds to sing, He imprints their song upon them and they raise their voices in witness to His goodness. He didn’t need me to teach the whales to sing, the bees to buzz or the hounds to “roo”.  What a marvelous creation we have spread before us, through God’s amazing hand.

“He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:15-16

Praise our glorious, wonderful God, and His Son who created all things through the power of His word.  

Father, I thank You for the beauty of Your creation.  There is so much of Your creation that I have not experienced and there is so much that is beyond my ability to comprehend, but I praise Your name for giving me such a marvelous world with ice chimes, singing birds, beautiful rainbows, glorious sunsets, and the list goes on with the best Gift of all, Your Son as my living Lord and Savior. 

GOD WITH US NOW, NOT JUST AT CHRISTMAS

Jesus had fed the 5,000, had healed the sick, had cast out demons, yet the Pharisees demanded to see more signs, more miracles — show us a sign and we will believe!  Matthew 12:38.  It as if they thought that Jesus would deliver a sign upon demand!  How foolish of them, we say; how arrogant could they be, we say; how could they treat the Son of God like that, we say!

Are we not like them?   We demand that God would resolve our financial difficulties, perhaps by God letting us win the lottery.  We demand that God would miraculously take the disease away, on our immediate timetable, of course.  We demand that God intervene and solve all our problems when we try to buy a new house or car, although we have not financially prepared for the purchase.  Just one more sign!

Our God can do these things, of course.  He is omnipotent so there is nothing that He is powerless to accomplish.  But we miss out on His presence if we simply look for Him in a massive display of His power on our behalf.  We forget that He has given the believer in Jesus the gift of life, both here and for all eternity, through the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Talk about massive display of His power!   We forget that He is with us, in fact He is in us through His beloved Holy Spirit.

Flower garden in Maine from Bette
A flower garden along a lake in Maine

We see evidences of God’s presence everywhere we look, if only we use our heart’s eyes.  A beautiful array of flowers, a stunning scene along the lake, an encouraging word from a friend that comes just when we needed it, a gentle rain or glittering rainbow, or provision He makes for our needs when we cannot see any possibility ahead of us.

The Pharisees did not need to see additional signs as evidence for them to believe in Him – Jesus had provided sufficient evidence that He was who He said He was.  He had healed the sick, raised the dead, responded to questions in ways too deep for these “thinkers” to understand. 

They didn’t need additional signs, and neither do we.  In short, we don’t need to seek spectacular displays of God’s work to know that He is the Savior.  The most spectacular display possible occurred 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ died the death that was rightfully ours and then when God raised Him from the dead. 

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

1 Corinthians 15:20 ESV

 He is with us today, we don’t have to wait for Christmastime to realize this.

“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

2 Timothy 1:13-14 ESV

Oh that we would know that the Holy Spirit is resident within us, and that we would realize that we have “God With Us” in a way that those who lived prior to Pentecost could not imagine.  We don’t have to wonder where He is, nor do we have to go to a specific church or place to pray.  He is with us 24/7 and there is nowhere we can go that is outside His reach. 

Read Psalm 139 as you ruminate on how all-embracing God’s knowledge of you is. 

We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God.   He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.  

A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

I pray that each of us will have open eyes to see His presence in our lives each day.

 

Father, You are Lord of the Universe, King of Kings, Creator of All, and You are the Lover of my soul.  Forgive, I pray, when I am so besieged by the difficulties, trials and concerns of the day that I fail to see Your hand, active and working in each of those situations.  Forgive, when I expect spectacular evidence of Your involvement in my life even though I ignore Your Word or the reminders that You provide in the chirp of a bird, in the sound of the wind, in the rustling of the leaves, in the antics of woodland creatures or the family pets.  Thank you Father for Your constant presence through the Holy Spirit.  May I be more sensitive to hearing Your call as You work in my life today.