My husband and I had just returned from a long stay in Mexico. With us we brought a special treasure: a beautiful poster of a rocky riverbed. Its Spanish caption read, “Si no hubiera rocas en su lecho, el río no cantaría.”
I hung the poster above my desk—not really understanding its meaning, but enjoying its exotic charm nonetheless.
Then, during one really bad week, the computer hard drive crashed; a furious friend called with words of anger and disappointment; I received the crushing news that two very dear friends suddenly found themselves in the throes of cancer; and another faced a long prison term.
I started complaining to God, but He stopped me with the sweet words of an old hymn. Its soul-piercing truth and comforting refrain came to mind as quickly as each new challenge arose, and I would sing the words softly to myself and smile. “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him. How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. O for grace to trust Him more.”
E. Stanley Jones, a great missionary, tells of a king who once stretched wires between the towers of his castle, hoping to create harp-like music when the wind blew.
But even the strongest gusts produced only weak metallic groans—until the night an enormous storm blew through the kingdom, awakening the whole court.
It was so violent that it sent everyone scurrying for cover—everyone except the king, whose attention was caught not by the threats of the wind, but by the beautiful, angelic notes that emerged from the dancing wires. It had taken a storm to reveal their hidden music.
It is the same for most of us. In character-testing trials we approach our real potential and learn to lean on God more.
A few days later, I sat admiring my beautiful poster again. This time its meaning made sense. You see, in English the caption reads: “If there were no rocks in its bed, the river would not sing.”
It seems that only in life’s storms is our faith stretched far enough to play the music of God’s everlasting love and abiding truth.
Sue Dunigan is co-founder of Leadership Ministries. Her husband, Jack, pastors the Word of Grace Church in Sedona, Arizona. They have served in ministry together for more than 26 years.