The importance of understanding the basics
Ten days ago I purchased a piano! The exclamation point doesn’t begin to do justice to the joy I’m experiencing.
More than four decades ago I bought a piano – my childhood dream. Unfortunately, after just a couple years I gave it up, although I don’t remember why. I had a patient teacher and time to practice.
I used to feel guilty until I gradually learned what Bob Goff beautifully describes:
“We spend a lot of time remembering failures God spent a lot of love saying we could forget.”
Three weeks ago, I got the strongest urge to give the piano another try. This time I had a specific goal. I wanted to learn to play worship music –- love songs just between the Lord and me.
So I bought a piano and an adult beginner’s book. I’m not embarrassed to say I’ve played for hours, though the only worship song I know is a simple version of “Amazing Grace” on page 12. To be honest I skipped pages 3 through 11. When I saw what was ahead, I just couldn’t wait.
After a couple days I realized I needed to go back and learn the notes (not just the finger numbers). So I began playing the C major scale. I’ve played it hundreds of times over the past days. I want to master the basics because I want to go beyond one hymn with fingers numbered. I want to read notes, and timing and slurs and dynamics as I praise the Lord with my music.
I’m beginning to believe I’ll also learn much about my walk with Jesus as I sit on my piano bench each day. I’m quite sure you’ll read more stories from me as I embrace this challenging and fantastic gift.
LESSON ONE: As the C major scale is basic to developing my piano skills, so God has given me truths that are basic to my faith.
I’m so blessed that in my very early teenage years of walking with Jesus, I was discipled by wise adults who knew that for me to grow strong enough to remain faithful to God, I’d need to understand the basics of my faith.
Some truths that formed the foundation of my faith journey
God loves me.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
My relationship with the Lord is based on His grace, not my efforts.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
God has an answer for the unfairness from others: Forgive.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
I can trust God to bring good out of everything that touches my life.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
ROMANS 8: 28
The Lord has a purpose for my life and will equip me to fulfill that purpose.
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
I CORINTHIANS 12:7
God will never leave me.
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you;
he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
I will never be left wanting.
Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need.
In Max Lucado’s book, Traveling Light, he shares this story.
"When Lloyd Douglas, author of The Robe and other novels, attended college, he lived in a boardinghouse. A retired, wheelchair-bound music professor resided on the first floor. Each morning Douglas would stick his head in the door of the teacher’s apartment and ask the same question, “Well, what’s the good news?” The old man would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of the wheelchair and say, “That’s Middle C! It was Middle C yesterday; it will be Middle C tomorrow; it will be Middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat. The piano across the hall is out of tune, but, my friend, that is Middle C.”
You and I need a Middle C. Relationships change. Health changes. The weather changes. But Yahweh who ruled the earth last night is the same Yahweh who rules it today. Same convictions. Same plan. Same mood. Same love. He never changes. You can no more alter God than a pebble can alter the rhythm of the Pacific. Yahweh is our Middle C. A still point in a turning world."
I’m so grateful for the foundations of my faith. They have guided every step of my life. So I’ll keep practicing the C major scale and then move on to G major, F minor… and all the rest. And as I learn them, I’ll also learn the worship songs that bring me close to the heart of Jesus.
Pull up a chair and sit still
What foundational truths have formed you? Do you find yourself needing to pause and return to the basics so you can move forward in the beautiful symphony God designed for you to play?