Over the weekend a neighbor who had just brought over a large bag of clothes and other items for Piper suddenly looked at me and said that I was amazing! Well, that took me by surprise and I asked what she meant. So, she paused, looked me in the eyes and said “Don’t you ever get bitter?”
Well, I sort of laughed a nervous laugh and said that there are times that I do get upset with things like watching my lovely wife suffer the changes she has endured for many years now, the way people who were once close to us look at her and tend (whether knowingly or not) to avoid contact with us, and mostly that there isn’t more than I can do for her! But then I quickly added that I can NEVER be upset or bitter toward Piper for it is the devil who has put this sickness upon her and that any personal righteous indignation is always directed toward him!
As I meditated upon that interaction this morning, I thought about what it is in me that causes me to keep a smile on my face and an encouraging word (most times that is…) upon my lips and instantly heard the words “It’s the New Song in you!” And I remembered another one of my all-time favorite scriptures that has always held a central part in my life since Piper and I began to have a family in the late seventies and eighties.
Psalm 40:3 sings in my heart announcing the fact that “He placed a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see this and worship. They will trust in the Lord.” (God’s Word ©) Over the years that psalm has given me boundless strength in the easy and tough times alike. It was the inspiration for a children’s song, a Christmas play, a family devotional that I published in the early 1990’s, and a home business that included a series of scripture confession cards that Piper wrote.
But mostly it is the song that has burned deep in my heart that has kept me focused on the promises in God’s Word throughout this most challenging time in my life. It is what causes me to start Piper’s day off with songs that I sing to her the first thing every morning now for many years… which reminds me of the MANY times I had to look to her throughout our ministry times together and ask her to play or sing the right note for the right key for me to lead a song! In fact I still do it now… only she doesn’t respond too much anymore… but that doesn’t stop me! As it still causes me to laugh when I think about the embarrassing times when in front of a crowd where she saved my bacon by quickly getting me on the right track!
The one part of that special verse that always gets me is that it states not that people will “HEAR” the new song but “SEE” it! In others words, that new song that only He can originate is something that others are able to “SEE” in you, in your daily life, in your attitude and in the way you respond to the good times and the bad ones that populate the minutes of your existence. I believe that is what my neighbor was asking me about! It is kind of like the old Timex watch slogan that “takes a licking and keeps on ticking!”
Piper gave all of our kid’s piano lessons when they were young and each of them now is very musically inclined as they have grown into adulthood. Of course they probably didn’t have a chance as we always had music as a central part of our family life and church ministry. They we involved with singing and playing instruments from a very young age at church, in the school band and with friends. But more importantly is the song of praise that they have in their hearts and in their mouths.
I have to believe that it is one of the major factors that has kept Piper going through the trials and tribulations that this disease brings. They might not come as often as before, but she still manages to smile and allow that glint of Zoë life to shine through her eyes to those of us around her that take the time and effort to personally minister to her.
It is also the foundation that will keep each of you strong and rejoiceful when the circumstances of life take an unpleasant turn. So I encourage each of you this week to make the time to allow Him to place a new song in your mouth, a song of praise to our God so that many will SEE it and give worship unto Him.
Have a great week, and as you do keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting others to SEE a new song in me today?”